The Department of Agriculture has announced that the US will be negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement with Malaysia that will enhance market access for US processed and fresh agricultural exports to the Asian country.

Malaysia is the fourth-largest US market in Southeast Asia, importing US$390m of fresh and processed fruit, vegetables, wheat, soybeans and other produce from the US in 2005.

“A free trade agreement will generate additional export opportunities for our farmers and ranchers, strengthen our economic ties, encourage development and improve access to Malaysian consumers seeking high quality US products,” US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said.