The U.S. begins free-trade talks with Malaysia, saying it wants, among other things, greater imports of foreign cars.

Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Asia/Pacific Barbara Weisel tells reporters the two countries hope to conclude the talks by the end of the year.

The first round of the talks, which began June 12, was scheduled for four days.

Weisel says the auto industry “obviously” is a sector of Malaysian economy that is of interest.

Malaysia is America’s 10th largest trading partner with $44 billion in 2-way trade, and this is predicted to double by 2010 with a free-trade agreement.

Meantime, the Malaysian Foreign Ministry says the FTA between Japan and Malaysia is to take effect July 13.

The pact removes tariffs on nearly all manufactured and agricultural goods within 10 years.