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Obama policies to be studied before FTA can resume

The Star, Malaysia

Obama policies to be studied before FTA can resume

By Mazwin Nik Anis

6 November 2008

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia will study policies to be introduced by new President-elect Barack Obama before deciding whether to resume the stalled Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks with the United States.

Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia would want to observe Obama’s policies, saying that from previous records the Democratic party which the new president represents was “more protectionist.”

“Let us wait and see. But I do hope the new US administration will see that what the world needs is not more assistance, but a fair and just trade regime,” he said.

Najib, also the Deputy Prime Minister, was responding to a question on whether Malaysia would be interested in resuming FTA talks with the United States when the new president is sworn in next January.

FTA negotiations commenced in March 2006 and stalled during the seventh round of talks in January this year.

Malaysia had earlier stressed that talks should not be tied to a timeframe or issues related to Malaysian interests and policies.

Najib said Malaysia had also been calling for an improvement of the global financial system where adjustments and revisions must be made to the world financial architecture.

This however has to come with global consensus, he added.