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Malaysia To Include Islamic Banking In FTA Talks With GCC

Bernama, Malaysia

Malaysia To Include Islamic Banking In FTA Talks With GCC

26 April 2010

ABU DHABI, April 26 (Bernama) — Malaysia, which is currently in the midst of negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), will look at several sectors including Islamic banking to be included in the FTA.

Malaysian Ambassador to United Arab Emirates (UAE), Datuk Yahaya Abdul Jabar, said the country was looking at all sectors but priority will be in Islamic banking, construction, information communication technology, renewable energy and tourism.

"These are the sectors that we want to focus on but we definitely want to look at all possible potential areas that we can work together," he told Malaysian reporters here on the sidelines of the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) road show which kicked off Monday.

The MIFC delegation, comprising regulators, industry players and fund managers, are currently on a mission, among others, to further explore potential investment opportunities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for Malaysian investors.

The more-than-50-member delegation, is being led by the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, who is MIFC Financial Ambassador.

Abu Dhabi is the first stop of the road show.

Yahaya said the FTA discussions, which have been going on for about a year, would likely take a little more time to be finalise as Malaysia is talking with all the GCC members.

"It is a collective agreement between Malaysia and GCC, that is why it would take more time. Malaysia is discussing with seven countries altogether, so some countries might have some issues," he added.

Apart from the GCC countries, Turkey and the European Union are also eyeing a FTA with Malaysia.

According to recent news reports, the GCC economy is set to hit US$2 trillion in economy in the next decade and will become increasingly important to the global economy.

Recently, the GCC proposed that Malaysia and the GCC work towards establishing a framework agreement as an initial step.