Malaysia: Background and U.S. Relations [April 21, 2014]   [open pdf - 385KB]

"Malaysia, a majority Muslim nation in Southeast Asia, has long been a partner in U.S. security and economic initiatives in the region, although political sensitivities in Malaysia have constrained both sides from forging deeper ties or even acknowledging how close the relationship is. Bilateral relations have improved over the past decade, especially under Prime Minister Najib Razak, who has made relations with the United States a priority. The Obama Administration has emphasized deeper engagement with Malaysia and other 'emerging partners' in Southeast Asia as part of the strategic 'rebalancing' of U.S. resources and attention to the Asia-Pacific region. Congress has expressed interest in a variety of issues in U.S.-Malaysia relations over the years, especially regarding trade, security cooperation, human rights, and Malaysia's diplomacy. The two nations are major trade and investment partners. In 2013, Malaysia was the 25th-largest market for U.S. exports and the 18th-largest supplier of U.S. imports. The United States was Malaysia's 4th-largest export market (after Singapore, China, and Japan) and the 4th-largest supplier of imports (after China, Singapore, and Japan). Both countries are parties to the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, which aim to create a high-standards free trade agreement among 12 countries comprising nearly 40% of the global economy. The United States' main trade-related concerns are Malaysia's government procurement policies, protection of intellectual property rights, and market access for key goods and services."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43505
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