South Korea, Malaysia discuss supply chains of raw materials, trade ties
14 Mar 2023
Trade ministers of South Korea and Malaysia discussed ways on Tuesday to deepen cooperation on supply chains of key raw materials and to boost bilateral trade by launching a regular dialogue channel.
The meeting between South Korean Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun and his Malaysian counterpart Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz took place in Seoul, as the Malaysian minister of international trade and industry came here as part of Malaysia’s economic delegation to mark the 40th anniversary of its Look East Policy, according to the South Korea’s trade, industry and energy ministry.
During the meeting, Yonhap news agency reported that Ahn had officially suggested signing a bilateral agreement on key raw materials to ensure their stable supply chains, including those necessary for electric vehicle batteries. Malaysia is rich in natural resources, such as natural gas and tin.
Ahn asked for the Malaysian government’s support for South Korean companies operating there, as a growing number of Korean firms in EV batteries, renewable energy and various other sectors have expanded investment in the Southeast Asian country, according to the ministry.
The two sides also exchanged opinions on how to make progress on their ongoing negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and discussed the possible establishment of a communication platform for regular talks on trade and economic cooperation.
South Korea has a separate FTA with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), but it has sought to strike bilateral deals with each member to further bolster ties.
Also on the table was the potential revision to the bilateral digital trade regulations, and ways to deepen cooperation on carbon capture and storage, hydrogen and other clean energy sectors, the ministry said.
Malaysia is the third-largest trade partner of South Korea among Southeast Asian nations, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of US$26.7 billion in 2022, according to government data.