Malaysian PM calls for FTA with India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK | MONDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2004
NEW DELHI: Malaysian PM Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmed Badawi on Monday underlined the need to strengthen India-Malaysia economic and trade co-operation through a free-trade agreement (FTA) and invited suggestions to maximise gains from such an arrangement. He urged India to use Malaysia as a gateway to the Asean region.
Addressing business leaders at a joint CII-Ficci conference, Badawi said Malaysia is keen to invest in India’s infrastructure sector. He assured the Indian business community that all roadblocks in the way of efficient functioning of free trade would be removed.
"Malaysian firms can bring in the efficiency and expertise that India expects from builders who win bids in a competitive environment," said Badawi.
He said bilateral trade is expected to cross $4.5 billion this financial year.
On the first day of his five-day visit, Indian and Malaysian firms signed 12 MoUs in diverse fields, including building of an international airport at Hyderabad, a venture to promote higher education, IT, manufacturing, satellite systems, infrastructure, and content development among others.
The Malaysian leader said though Indian entrepreneurs have invested nearly $1 billion in his country, it appeared "very little" compared to the vastness of opportunity. He sought Indian investment as well as technical expertise in the fields of IT, manufacturing, biotech, engineering and pharmaceuticals. Tax incentives would be provided to investors, he added.