Malaysia FTA renegotiations start in June

Bernama | May 24, 2009

Malaysia FTA Renegotiations Start In June

KOTA BAHARU, May 24 (Bernama) — Renegotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and three other countries namely the United States (US), Australia and New Zealand will begin in the middle of June.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamad said his ministry would hold separate meetings with the three countries to discuss the direction and actual picture to ensure that the process to realise the FTA between the three countries and Malaysia was achieved.

"I will look again at Malaysia’s position and stand regarding the FTA and will inform the Cabinet on the matter for discussion.

"I’m also waiting for the mandate from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on the matter," he told reporters after a meeting with agencies under his ministry, here today.

He was commenting on the statement by the United States Ambassador to Malaysia, James R.Keith, on Thursday that Malaysia was now on the right track to proceed with a new round of negotiations on the FTA with the US following the implementation of the liberalisation policy announced by the Malaysian government recently.

Keith said that since the negotiations last year, the Barack Obama administration had been reviewing all aspects of the agreement and would speed up the new round of negotiations with Malaysia.

The most significant difference is between the developed nations led by the European Union (EU), the US and Japan, and the developing countries represented by India, Brazil, China and South Africa.

The last negotiation on July 23 last year was stalled after it failed to reach a compromise on the rules of importing agricultural produce and the main negotiations were not expected to be revived until 2009.

However, negotiations between the US, China and India were held towards the end of last year to agree on the model for negotiations, however no progress had been made.

source: Bernama