AFX News Limited
Malaysia vows to guard sovereign rights in US trade talks - minister
KUALA LUMPUR (XFN-ASIA) — Malaysia will not sign trade pacts with any country, including the United states, if it involves sacrificing the interest of the majority ethnic Malays, Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz said.
’Only the Malaysian government has the right to determine the policies, whether to accept or reject the proposals and this is the basis of any of our negotiations,’ she told delegates on the final day of the ruling United Malays National Organization’s (UMNO) gathering.
’No one has the right, even the US, to determine the outcome of the negotiations and the agreements of the FTA (free trade agreement),’ she added.
Rafidah said Malaysia will not entertain any request that will ’affect and erode’ the existing economic policies in the country.
Malaysia last month concluded its third round of free-trade talks with the US in which both parties expressed confidence of resolving the sensitive issue of government procurement.
Malaysian government procurement, in which lucrative contracts are awarded to the country’s majority ethnic Malays as part of its affirmative plan, is seen as the biggest political hurdle in the talks.