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US gives up FTA deal with Malaysia before fast-track deadline

Saturday March 24, 2007

U.S. gives up FTA deal with Malaysia before fast-track deadline

(Kyodo) — The United States has given up completing negotiations for a free trade agreement with Malaysia in time for submission under President George W. Bush fast-track negotiating authority expires, a spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative said Friday.

The move came in response to Malaysia’s recent notification to the United States that the country needs time to "seek a political consensus" within its Cabinet on a number of important outstanding issues, spokesman Stephen Norton said in a statement.

"We made clear to the Malaysian Government the requirements of our Trade Promotion Authority and that, at this point, submission of a U.S.-Malaysia FTA under the current TPA statute is not possible," he said.

The United States and Malaysia have been trying to conclude negotiations by the end of March, 90 days before Bush’s fast-track authority expires. Despite the latest U.S. decision, both have agreed to continue to negotiate for a future deal.

The Trade Promotion Authority enables the president to negotiate trade deals that must be deliberated by Congress on an accelerated basis that bars any amendments. To use the authority, the president is required to give Congress a 90-day advance notice.

 source: Kyodo