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Najib: KL will review ‘lopsided’ FTA with Japan

The Star (Malaysia)

17June 2006

Najib: KL will review ‘lopsided’ FTA with Japan


TOKYO: Malaysia will review its free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan following claims that it is lopsided, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

“We will have to see how it is being implemented as well as the interpretation of the economic partnership. We have to look at it in its entirety,” the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters after attending the World Economic Forum on East Asia here yesterday.

He was asked to comment on the claim by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the agreement, signed last December was not balanced and not beneficial to Malaysia.

Najib said, for example, there was an undertaking by the Japanese government to help Malaysia build its automotive industry.

“If they respond in a positive direction, we will ensure that the implementation of the partnership is equitable. We will monitor the situation closely,” he said.

Under the agreement, Malaysia will, in 10 years, do away with almost all tariffs on the entry of Japanese cars, while Malaysian mangoes and other products would be allowed entry into Japan.

Malaysia began FTA talks with the United States early this month, and is negotiating with Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan for similar agreements. On the planned East Asian regional grouping, Najib said Asean countries should take the initiative to set it up.

“I am saying this based on consensus and Asean’s 40-year experience,” said Najib, adding that there was a need for stronger political will to see the formation of an East Asian community.

 source: The Star