Malaysia has reiterated its desire to sign a bilateral Voluntary Trade Partnership (VPA) with the EU before the end of the year to ensure its wood products exports are legal, the country’s plantation minister has told the Bernama news agency.

After his latest round of talks in The Hague, minister Peter Chin said negotiations were ongoing, with agreement still needed on certain issues.

Mr Chin, who is currently on a European mission to Europe co-organised by the Malaysian Timber Council, said he hoped a VPA would be signed before the end of 2008.

Last week Ghana became the first nation to sign a VPA.