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Malaysia to draw up FTA framework with GCC countries by October, says Mukhriz

Bernama June 03, 2010

Malaysia To Draw Up FTA Framework With GCC Countries By October, Says Mukhriz

KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 (Bernama) — Malaysia hopes to draw up a frawework for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries by October, said International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

"GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Hamad al-Attiyah had indicated that he may be in town (Kuala Lumpur) this October. So, we hope to sign (the framework) than after which we will discuss the next course of work," he told reporters after opening the Malaysia Korea Chamber of Commerce here Thursday.

Mukhriz met Abdul Rahman in Singapore last week to discuss the possibility of establishing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and GCC.

Asked on the progress made so far, he said: "They are very keen. He explained economic ministers are very committed (to establishing the FTA) but it is the finance ministers of the GCC countries who will decide on this".

He said at present, there was a moratorium, whereby, GCC has to complete negotiations with countries they have already initiated talks with like Europe and the United States.

"As soon as they finish with that moratorium, they will commmence negotiations with us," Mukhriz said, adding that GCC has asked Malaysia to work on a FTA framework which included cultural exchanges, trade, goods and services.

 source: Bernama