Malaysia expects to conclude a free trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates by the end of June, the country's trade minister said, adding the deal could boost investment in Malaysia by the Gulf state's sovereign wealth funds.

The countries started negotiations over a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement last year.

"We are in the last round of discussions," Malaysian Trade Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz told Reuters on Tuesday in an interview at a World Trade Organization meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Following the agreement, Malaysia hopes that the UAE will invest in its energy, digital economy, electric vehicle and chip sectors. Mubadala Investment Company, one of Abu Dhabi's three sovereign wealth funds, is already a investor in Malaysia.

The UAE, a small but influential nation on the Arabian Peninsula, has signed a series of bilateral free trade agreements in recent years, including with India and Israel. As well as removing traditional tariffs on goods and services, deals have included preferential investment clauses.

Tengku Zafrul said the trade deal could lead to Malaysia becoming a hub for UAE investments in Asia.

He said there had been no progress on a broader free trade agreement between ASEAN and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which includes the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Tengku Zafrul said Malaysia was talking with the European Union for free trade agreement but cautioned that momentum behind a U.S.-led Indo-Pacific agreement had slowed down.

"I'm not too optimistic if Trump comes in," he said of this year's U.S. presidential election, citing the U.S. abandoning another Pacific trade deal under former President Donald Trump.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Christina Fincher)