US, Malaysia talk trade

US, Malaysia talk trade
© Getty

Top U.S. and Malaysian trade officials are discussing ways to further strengthen their trading relationship.

President Trump and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak met at the White House on Tuesday and vowed to move forward with a trade agreement between the two nations.

"We're talking about trade, very large trade deals," Trump said. 

ADVERTISEMENT
"We’re working on one deal where between $10 and $20 billion dollars’ worth of Boeing jets are going to be purchased, General Electric engines will be purchased, and many other things,” he said.

Najib said his delegation came to the U.S. with several specific economic agenda items, including purchasing 33 Boeing planes with the possibility of purchasing another 25 more.

"Within five years this deal will be worth beyond $10 billion," he said.

Malaysia was part of the Trans-Pacific Parntership, an agreement between the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations. But Trump withdrew from the deal shortly after moving into the White House.

The remaining 11 nations are still trying to work out a final agreement.

For more than a year, Najib has been under investigation of the Justice Department, which seized $1.7 billion in assets that Najib’s family reportedly purchased with funds from a government fund started by the prime minister in 2009.

Last month, the Justice Department said it would turn its attention to $3.5 billion in missing funds from the account.

On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMORE met with Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia's minister of trade and industry, to address issues in the U.S.-Malaysia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, including on insurance and financial services, intellectual property, agriculture, labor and environment.

Lighthizer and Mohamed agreed to stay in touch over the coming months to assess progress in resolving outstanding issues and seek out avenues to enhance their economic ties and promote more balanced trade between the two nations.

Malaysia is the 18th largest U.S. goods trading partner, with $48.5 billion in bilateral goods trade in 2016, according to the USTR's figure.

Last year, the United States had a $24.8 billion goods trade deficit with Malaysia. In 2015, the United States had a $1 billion bilateral services trade surplus with Malaysia.