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MITI: Business Community Should Help Govt On FTAs

Bernama, Malaysia

MITI: Business Community Should Help Govt On FTAs

12 May 2009

ALOR SETAR, May 12 (Bernama) — The business community is encouraged to work together with the government in ensuring that free trade agreements (FTAs) will provide the best benefits for the country.

Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) director for the Penang regional office, Ahmad Rizal Mohd Hanafiah, said the business community could help the government by providing suggestions on new FTA partners that the country should look into.

They could also provide feedback on issues and problems encountered by Malaysian companies in the FTA partner countries as well as to organise outreach programmes on FTAs to members, Ahmad Rizal said.

"The business community can assist member companies in taking advantage of the benefits of implemented FTAs and encourage studies and research on FTAs," he said at the Northern Region Investment and Trade Workshop on the Manufacturing and Services Sectors here today.

He was presenting a working paper on "The FTA — Latest Developments and Opportunities for Malaysian Business Community".

Ahmad Rizal said currently there are eight FTAs under negotiations, including that between Malaysia and the United States.

He said through FTAs, Malaysia products could enter the targeted markets at a comparatively lower tariff or zero tariff vis-a-vis their competitors from countries which have yet to establish such FTAs.

"Through FTAs, Malaysian producers will also enjoy lower cost of imports, thus contributing to their overall competitiveness," he added.

The two-day workshop is jointly organised by the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and the Small and Medium Industries Development Corporation (Smidec).

It aimed to provide updates on government policies, incentives, facilities and support services; highlight investment opportunities available; increase awareness on the functions of agencies under the ministry; and provide a forum for the business community to network with key government agencies.