Canada, US interested in treaties with Malaysia

Bernama, October 21, 2006

Canada, US Interested In Treaties With Malaysia

By Manik Mehta

NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Bernama) — Though their reasons and goals are different, both Canada and US are interested to sign treaties with Malaysia to facilitate trade.

Canada’s interest hinges on the tax treaty with Malaysia where negotiations would start on Nov 6 in Ottawa.

According to Canadian sources, there was a need to update the treaty to consider the "new realities" in bilateral economic relations which, they maintained, have improved.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Department of Finance, the agency which would be holding talks with Malaysia for the treaty renewal, is inviting comments from the Canadians whose interests may have been affected.

In a notification, the department said this would give Canadians an opportunity to inform the government of any particular issues or double-taxation that might be taken into account during negotiations.

"The (Canadian) government is interested to learn of any difficulties encountered by Canadians under the tax system of Malaysia," it said.

While Canada is keen to thrash out the double-taxation treaty with Malaysia, the US has urged Malaysia to "stay committed" on the trade talks leading to the signing of a free trade agreement (FTA).

Unnerved by the protests against the FTA talks, Karan Bhatia, Deputy US Trade Representative (USTR) today made a strong plea to the Malaysian government not to detract from its FTA course.

In what could be interpreted as a subtle warning to the Malaysian government, Bhatia told journalists there had recently been a "downtick in foreign investment in Malaysia" reflecting doubts (among investors) over the country’s continued commitment to economic reforms.

Bhatia said the case for Malaysia to iron out an FTA with US was "stronger than ever before from Malaysia’s perspective".

Both the US and Malaysia will be holding their third of negotiations in the week of Oct 29 in Kuala Lumpur.

Bhatia said it was important a deal be reached by early 2007 for submission to Congress before US trade promotion authority expires.

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source: Bernama