Malaysia, UAE to start talks on bilateral trade deal

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) -Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to negotiate a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, a type of bilateral trade deal the UAE has been pursuing with various countries since 2021, the two countries said on Tuesday.

The agreement will cover trade in goods and services, investments, economic cooperation, Malaysia's trade ministry said in a statement.

"The UAE is Malaysia's 17th trade partner globally and the second in the Middle East, accounting for 32% of Malaysia's trade with Arab countries. The UAE is also the first destination for Malaysian merchandise exports to Arab countries," UAE Trade Minister Thani Al Zeyoudi said in a statement on state news agency WAM.

The announcement came during a high-level visit by the UAE to Malaysia led by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed Al Nahyan.

During the visit, the UAE's energy minister and Malaysia's natural resources minister discussed strengthening cooperation in energy, especially clean energy, UAE state news agency WAM said on Monday.

Zeyoudi said the UAE and Malaysia had seen strong growth in bilateral trade and investment over recent years. Malaysian investments in the UAE stand at $150 million, and UAE investments in Malaysia stand at $220 million, he said.

The UAE has so far signed four CEPAs with India, Israel, Indonesia and Turkey and had previously said it wants to sign around 26.

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and Lisa Barrington in Dubai; Editing by Martin Petty and Christina Fincher)