KUALA LUMPUR: Talks on a potential currency swap between Malaysia and Turkiye are being finalised by the central banks of both countries, according to Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah.

“We are working to expedite the signing of the Malaysia-Turkiye Free Trade Agreement (MTFTA) and also for both banks to expedite the conclusion of the discussion on the currency swap within the parameters of the financial sphere,” he said here yesterday.

A currency swap is an agreement whereby two countries agree to exchange a given amount of currency at an agreed upon interest rate and a common maturity date for the exchange.

Turkiye has currency swap deals with China, Qatar and South Korea worth about US$23bil (RM102bil).

Turkiye also inked an almost US$5bil (RM22bil) swap deal with the United Arab Emirates in January.

Saifuddin noted that Malaysia and Turkiye had enjoyed positive economic growth since both countries signed the MTFTA in August 2015 and that talks were being finalised to expand the free trade agreement to new areas such as investment, services and ecommerce.

He also said both Malaysia and Turkiye would benefit economically from the new comprehensive strategic partnership inked during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s visit to Turkiye last month.

“Some areas in Malaysia’s economy that can be strengthened are the digital economy, specifically in microchip production, and from Turkiye, of course, the defence industry,” he added.

Saifuddin was speaking alongside his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu during a press conference held at Parliament House here yesterday.

Cavusoglu, who is on a two-day visit here, described Malaysia as a key actor in the Asean region.

He added that Turkiye was looking forward to the official visit by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to the country this month.

Noting that Malaysia was Turkiye’s biggest trading partner in Asean, Cavusoglu said trade volume had grown by approximately 50%, or US$2.4bil (RM10.7bil) in the first half of this year.

He hoped to achieve the target of US$5bil (RM22bil) of trade between Malaysia and Turkiye by the end of the year.

“We hope to expand and deepen our cooperation in the coming period based on the comprehensive strategic partnership,” added Cavusoglu.

Turkiye is Malaysia’s third largest trading partner and the largest export destination among West Asian countries.