Thank you Mr Chairman,
Initially, I would like to thank the Government of Malaysia and the WTO Secretariat for the excellent and thorough reports that form the basis for this review.
I would also like to thank Malaysia for the responses to our questions. We will look into the answers and revert to them if necessary.
Norway is pleased to note that Malaysia’s economy is characterised by growth and development and commends the government for its commitment to relaxing restrictions on competition and FDI, and encourages you to continue these efforts.
Norway values Malaysia’s active role and contribution to the work of the WTO and in the Doha Development Agenda over the past years. Although we do not necessarily see eye to eye on all issues, we value the comprehensive contact we have in Geneva and appreciate Malaysia’s constructive engagement and commitment to the multilateral trading system. Norway welcomes those measures taken by Malaysia since its last Trade Policy Review in 2010 that has supported the global trading system.
Trade between Norway and Malaysia has over the past ten years increased by 25%, but is still rather limited. There is clearly a potential for developing our mutual trade further. In 2013, Norwegian imports from Malaysia amounted to US$ 300 million. The most important products are machinery, electronics, optics, and rubber products.
Norway’s export to Malaysia amounted to US$ 339 million in 2013, an increase of US$ 130 million compared to 2010. A number of large-scale Norwegian investments have taken place in Malaysia, primarily in the fields of telecommunication, maritime services, and within the energy sector. This is a clear indication of the growing attractiveness of the Malaysian market and a testament to the government’s recent liberalization policies. We note that the services sector continued, during the period under review, to be the main contributor to Malaysia’s GDP. We have been pleased to note that Malaysian service industries support efforts to drive liberalization of services markets.
Norway recognizes measures taken to streamline the regulatory framework and the removal or reduction of equity and other restrictions on foreign investment. Furthermore, we welcome the declared commitment of the Government to improving transparency and fighting corruption.
Norway looks forward to seeing negotiators from Norway and Malaysia meet here in Geneva later this month for a first round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement between Malaysia and the EFTA states. The trade patterns between Malaysia and Norway are complementary, which underpins the assumption of fruitful process to take place. There is a great potential for increased trade to be realized by an FTA between Malaysia and EFTA. We are confident that a free trade agreement will bring a significant boost to the already positive trend in our trading relations. Especially in trade in services, there is a significant trade potential to be unlocked.
We welcome further cooperation on trade matters with our Malaysian colleagues and wish you a successful trade policy review.