Illegal logging not an issue in FTA talks with US: Anifah

Bernama, Malaysia

Illegal Logging Not An Issue In FTA Talks With US: Anifah

7 March 2007

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 (Bernam) --- Illegal logging is not an issue in the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between Malaysia and the US, Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Datuk Anifah Aman said.

"As far as Malaysia is concerned, illegal logging is virtually nil. So, we are not worried about it.

"Malaysia has sufficient logs and timber were derived from production forests. So far, Malaysia is not involved in any illegal logging," he told reporters after presenting Meico Designer’s Choice Award here Wednesday.

Anifah said this when asked to comment on whether illegal logging was an issue in the FTA negotiations with the US.

He said the ministry’s official at the negotiations were well-prepared, and they would be able to defend Malaysia’s position on the matter if the US continued to express its worry on illegal logging during the negotiations.

During the first round of talks in Penang, the US Assistant Trade Representative, Barbara Weisel, was reported as saying that both sides had discussed the problem of illegal logging that threatened tropical tree species in Malaysia.

Anifah said the ministry was expected to state its stand on the FTA during the Cabinet meeting today.

However, he said, there were still outstanding issues related to commodities where clarifications were needed.

"Any decision taken will based on the ministry’s interest, so that the signing of the FTA it will not be at the expense of the commodities industry," he said.

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