Malaysia: FTAs with Pakistan, Australia & NZ to be completed this year

BERNAMA, February 14, 2006

FTAs With Pakistan, Australia & NZ To Be Completed This Year

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 (Bernama) — Free Trade Agreement (FTA) initiatives with Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand which are currently ongoing, are expected to be completed this year, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said Tuesday.

She also said that FTA negotiations with the United States and India would also begin this year, followed by the launch of a joint feasibility study for a possible FTA between Malaysia and Chile.

She was speaking to reporters after announcing Malaysia’s trade performance in 2005 here today.

Asked what were the initial remarks by exporters on FTAs, Rafidah said: "When undertaking a study on possible FTA, we would first see at the sub-industry level, of which among others, would involve some reduction in tariff in selected products."

"In this case, tariff already has been either reduced or brought out, but what so important for us is to see opportunities in the new market that been provided by other party," she said.

Rafidah said the private sector should be aware of the opportunities provided by FTAs so that they could took advantage from them.

Recently, Pakistan was quoted saying that it would offer duty concession ranging between zero to 90 percent on the import of 126 items to Malaysia and receive the same concessions on 144 exportable items.

It is expected to complete the FTA by June this year.

As for the FTA with Australia, Australian Trade Minister Mark Vaile was quoted saying that both countries were expected to conclude their negotiations by middle of this year.

Currently, Malaysia is Australia’s ninth largest trading partner with total trade valued at A$5.9 billion (A$1.00=RM2.70).

source: Bernama