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Negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Malaysia were launched in 2010 and put on hold after seven rounds in 2012 at the request of Malaysia. A stocktaking exercise took place in 2016-17 to assess the prospect to resume negotiations. In the aftermath of the general elections in Malaysia in May 2018, the new government has yet to take a position on the possible resumption of negotiations.

Malaysia is a member of the WTO since its creation in 1995.

Trade picture

  • Bilateral trade between the two partners equalled € 39.8 billion in 2018. EU imports from Malaysia have gradually increased since 2006 and stand at € 25.6 billion in 2018 while EU exports have also seen a growing trend to reach €14.2 billion last year.
  • The EU is the third largest trading partner of Malaysia (after China and Singapore), accounting for 11.6% of the country’s total trade. In 2018, Malaysia became the EU's 23rd largest trading partner in goods.
  •  Bilateral trade between the EU and Malaysia is dominated by industrial products. The EU mainly imports machinery and appliances and mainly exports electrical equipment and machinery (both ways industrial products account for more than 90% of trade). Other sectors of relevance in terms of EU imports from Malaysia are plastics and rubber and animal and vegetable fats and oils and in terms of exports, mechanical products.
  • Although Malaysia has not been a major trading partner in services so far, opportunities have already been increasing due to its liberalisation policies and would even further advance with a FTA. In 2017, Foreign Direct Investment outward stocks in Malaysia were €24.5 billion.

EU-Malaysia: Trade in goods

Trade in goods 2017-2019, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2017 19.8 12.8 -7.1
2018 20.8 12.7 -8.1
2019 23.6 13.0 -10.6

EU-Malaysia: Trade in services

Trade in services 2016-2018, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2016 2.4 3.0 0.6
2017 2.6 3.4 0.7
2018 2.9 3.2 0.2

EU-Malaysia: Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2018, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2018 13.2 23.4 10.1

Unless otherwise mentioned “EU” concerns for all indicated years the current European Union of 27 Member States.

Date of retrieval: 22/04/2020

More statistics on Malaysia

EU and Malaysia

Even though the FTA negotiations between the EU and Malaysia are on hold, a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) was launched in support of FTA negotiations between the two partners.. The SIA seeks to assess how trade and trade-related provisions in the proposed FTA could potentially impact economic, social, human rights, and environmental elements in each trading partner and in other relevant countries.

To learn more about the SIA, go to the EU-Malaysia SIA website.

Malaysia and ASEAN

Malaysia is one of the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the third largest economy in the region in terms of GDP (12%) and the EU’s third largest trading partner in ASEAN.

The ASEAN region is a dynamic market with some 640 million consumers and ranks as the eighth economy in the world. The countries as a group are the EU's third largest trading partner outside Europe, after the US and China.

Ensuring better access for EU exporters to the dynamic ASEAN market is a priority for the EU. Negotiations for a region-to-region trade and investment agreement between the EU and ASEAN were launched in 2007 and paused by mutual agreement in 2009 to give way to a bilateral format of negotiations.

These bilateral trade and investment agreements were conceived as building blocks towards a future region-to-region agreement.

More information on ASEAN

Trading with Malaysia