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
A free trade agreement between Malaysia and the United States is likely to be deferred until after November next year from the early 2008 target set previously as attention focuses on the upcoming US presidential election, the Edge Financial Daily reported on Wednesday.
The United States’ new ambassador to Malaysia on Wednesday urged both countries to conclude negotiations for a free trade agreement after a missed deadline appears to have slowed the pace of talks.
On Sunday 26 August more than 500 people staged a strong anti US-FTA protest in the centre of Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. Most of the protesters were farmers from the northern rice-bowl state of Kedah, or workers and urban settlers.
The United States and Malaysia could finish talks on a free trade agreement in 2008, even though the Bush administration has lost key legislative authority, a top US trade official said on Monday.
Malaysia’s ongoing negotiations with the United States on a free trade agreement (FTA) will not involve any of Malaysia’s domestic policies such as that related to the special status for Bumiputeras, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday.
"Both sides would like to finish this as quickly as possible," a US official told reporters
Malaysian police are investigating the distribution of pamphlets protesting the signing of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and the United States.
The US Government said Malaysia must open its rice market to reach a free trade agreement, opposing the protectionist stance of the South-East Asian nation.
Malaysia and the US will be holding informal FTA talks to iron out various issues instead of planning for another formal round of negotiations, according to reports. Both sides last met in April in the US.
Negotiations on the Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement has reached the technical stage, the Dewan Negara was told Tuesday.