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FTA talks not postponed, says Muhyiddin Yassin

New Straits Times, Malaysia

FTA talks not postponed, says Muhyiddin Yassin

8 May 2008

BERNAMA. Free trade agreement negotiations between Malaysia and the United States are still ongoing and have not been postponed although the U.S is going through presidential nominations, Minister of International Trade and Industry Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said. “I have met U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab in Bali recently, so if there is any need for us to move now on certain contentious issues that need to be discussed further, we are prepared to do that.” “But, we also have a certain mandate given by the Cabinet on the things we can negotiate and things we cannot negotiate,” he said.

“So, it is more on the U.S. side to appeal, for example, in the area of government procurement, one of the critical issues and an area very much more of interest to Malaysia,” the minister said.

“Then, the U.S. could consider taking (contentious issues) out of the list that we don’t want to negotiate,” Muhyiddin told reporters after launching a national seminar on business opportunities in the machinery and equipment industry here today.