Having signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement on 10 May 2004, the US and Malaysia agreed in early 2006 to start negotiating a bilateral Free Trade Agreement. US negotiators indicated that they expected to conclude talks by the end of 2006 but that was not to be.
The Malaysian government has been putting up a fight on various issues such as government procurement (which Malaysia does not want to open to US participation) and its Bumiputra policy (giving special preferences to ethnic Malays). Social movements, on the other hand, reject the talks particularly in terms of the implications of a deal on access to medicines, intellectual property and Malaysia’s autonomy to set policies. The negotiations have stalled since 2009, and are now effectively on ice.
last update: May 2012
Photo: Third World Network
Malaysia and US should have a pre-negotiation discussion on some of the contentious issues that have delayed the progress of the Free Trade Agreement with the US, International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Wednesday.
Malaysia urged the United States on Wednesday to drop contentious issues from their free trade talks so that a deal can be forged.
Free trade agreement negotiations between Malaysia and the United States are still ongoing and have not been postponed although the U.S is going through presidential nominations, Minister of International Trade and Industry Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
Malaysia’s new trade minister said on Thursday there was no rush to sign a free-trade deal which the United States hopes could be struck before President George W. Bush leaves office this year.
The United States is looking forward to tie-up the Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia now that a new government has been formed after the 12th general election.
Negotiations on a free trade agreement between Malaysia and the United States have hit a sticky patch. There are 58 issues still unresolved and no fixed date scheduled for the sixth round of talks.
Malaysian and US trade officials are working towards concluding a strong US-Malaysia free trade agreement by this summer ahead of the US election on Nov 4.
Formal negotiations between Malaysia and the US are said to be scheduled to resume during the week of January 14 in Kuala Lumpur, according to Barbara Weisel, the US chief negotiator, adding that the US hopes to reach an agreement by the middle of the year.
The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce whose members include US, Malaysian, and other international companies, has urged the United States and Malaysian governments to consummate the free trade agreement now being negotiated.
The United States and Malaysia are planning to resume formal negotiations on a free trade agreement early next year, after failing to reach a deal in early 2007