The Republic of Korea (RoK) and Malaysia on March 13 agreed to launch negotiations toward a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and push for their conclusion before the end of this year.
The agreement was reached at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur between visiting Korean President Moon Jae-in and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, during which they discussed ways to expand the countries' cooperation and exchanges.
The two leaders agreed to push for a bilateral FTA to create an institutional framework that will help further expand the bilateral trade and investment ties, and to try to declare the conclusion of negotiations at the special RoK-ASEAN summit at the end of the year by moving forward their negotiations with speed, Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
Following the summit, Moon and Mahathir witnessed the signing of four new memoranda of understanding on cooperation which call for increased collaboration in the manufacturing industry and the transportation sector, as well as cooperation in developing new smart cities and halal-certified hallyu products.
Bilateral trade between the RoK and Malaysia is also on the steady rise, increasing by 14.9 percent to 19.2 billion USD last year from 16.7 billion USD the year before, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Malaysia is the second stopover in Moon’s tour of three Southeast Asia countries. Earlier, the Korean President visited Brunei and is scheduled to make a trip to Cambodia later.