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Malaysia, India hold talks on FTA

Malaysia, India hold talks on FTA

27 September 2004

Malaysia is holding negotiations with India on establishing an ASEAN-India Free Trade Area (FTA), covering trade in goods, services and investment, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) CEO Datuk Merlyn Kasimir said today.

Wooing the Indian investor by showcasing the vast investment opportunities and growth prospects in a wide range of fields in Malaysia at a seminar, ’Malaysia-India Business Opportunities’, organised by the CII, he said with a view to creating an expanded market base, ASEAN was engaged in strengthening and deepening its cooperation in the form of FTAs with countries like China, Japan and Korea.

’’Currently, Malaysia is leading the ongoing negotiations with India on the ASEAN-India FTA and it is expected to cover trade in goods, services and investment.’’ ’’Business opportunities with Malaysia should be viewed in the context of the regional market and various special trading arrangement that the country has and will establish with its trading partners,’’ he said and added that for Indian companies, ASEAN, with a combined population of more than 500 million people and a combined GDP exceeding 750 billion dollars, would be an attractive market.

With the liberalised tariff environment in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), companies in ASEAN countries could now access the whole ASEAN market at tariffs of between zero to five per cent.

Kasimir said Malaysia was negotiating a bilateral FTA with Japan and had also signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the United States, which would provide a platform for establishing an FTA in the future.

’’These developments will broaden opportunities for Indian companies to make Malaysia as a base to manufacture and export their products and services to the regional and global market,’’ he added.