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Ambassador: NAP not an obstacle

Sin Chew Daily, Malaysia

Ambassador: NAP Not An Obstacle

9 March 2006

SUBANG (Thur): US Ambassador to Malaysia Christopher J. LaFleur said it was not expected that the National Automobile Policy would become an obstacle for both countries in convening discussions on Free Trade Agreements (FTA).

LaFleur was confident that the automobile issue would not become a tough fight since both countries have officially started the discussions today.

It was expected that both countries could complete FTA negotiations by the end of this year.

Confidence has been established between US and Malaysia after lengthy discussions (from 2004 to 2006) as contract structure was identified, J. LaFleur said, adding that both countries went through some experiences, but were prepared to move towards FTA.

LaFleur added that both governments understood the problems brought about by the National Automobile Policy, and he believed the good relationship between both countries would settle the problems.

However he said, "There are ramifications in the FTA, the negotiation process is complicated and is not done at once. Custom duties and non-duties are included, and all these have to be discussed."

According to LaFleur, US is the largest investor in Malaysia, investing USD1.4bn in Malaysia last year.

On the other hand, Malaysia has become the 10th largest trading partner of the US, and bilateral trade currently stands at USD34bn.