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 the US have agreed to take contentious issues "off the table" in their ongoing (free trade agreement) FTA negotiations, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said.
A 52-year-old rubber tapper from Semenyih rode on a bus for more than an hour to bring his concerns to the doorstep of the United States embassy in Kuala Lumpur today.
The Coalition of Factory Workers and Trade Unions (GPKK) demonstrated for half-an-hour outside the United States embassy, here Wednesday to protest against the on-going Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation which it claimed violated the rights of the lower-income group.
A free trade agreement (FTA) between the United States and Malaysia, in its final round this week, has run into opposition from trade unions and also from U.S. lawmakers opposed to an energy deal struck between this country and Iran.
Malaysia’s Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani has publicly stated his country’s stand "that generic drugs should not be restricted in any manner". Implying that a US-Malaysia FTA could result in more expensive drugs, he said that Malaysia is not going to negotiate on this issue, and added “we are providing the drugs for free.”
FTAs are increasingly being regarded by many countries as Washington’s economic analogue of a nuclear bomb.
Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz told Washington to stay out of Malaysia’s affairs and warned the government will not bow to any threats, the Malay-language Utusan Malaysia reported. "I am ready to advise the government to cancel the FTA discussions immediately," she was quoted as saying.
A key US lawmaker on Wednesday called on the administration of President George W Bush to suspend free trade talks with Malaysia in protest over its mega energy deal with Iran.
Labor unions in Malaysia and the United States said Monday they opposed a free trade agreement between their two countries unless it incorporated mechanism to protect labor and social rights.
Foreign direct investments are shifting back to Malaysia from China, at least in the textile industry, with some multinationals planning to relocate their operations ahead of the signing of the Malaysia-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA).