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Cabinet takes stand on some issues in FTA talks with the US, says Najib

Bernama, Malaysia

Cabinet Takes Stand On Some Issues In FTA Talks With The US, Says Najib

28 March 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) — The Cabinet has "made some decisions" on points of contention in the negotiations with the US on a free trade agreement (FTA), Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said Wednesday.

"It is now up to the respective ministries to take up our position with the Americans," he told reporters after speaking on the economic outlook and business opportunities in Malaysia at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2007 here.

"We discussed the FTA (at today’s Cabinet meeting) and we made some decisions relating to the FTA (talks)," he said.

"We are not bound by any deadline nor will we give up some of the fundamental positions that we consider very important to Malaysia."

Asked if the negotiations will resume, Najib said: "The talks continue," adding that the next round will be held fairly soon.

There is no timeframe for the FTA talks, he added.

After the last round of talks, Malaysian negotiators needed the Cabinet to discuss and decide on some issues, including government procurement rules, before the next round resumes.