US-Malaysia FTA to be fast-tracked

Bernama | 21 January 2009

US-Malaysia FTA to be fast-tracked

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is to be fast-tracked under the administration of the new US President Barack Obama, US Ambassador to Malaysia James R. Keith said today.

He said the FTA would be finalised after the officials in charge of trade negotiations have been appointed under the new administration.

“The US commitment on the FTA will remain as this is important for the Malaysia’s economic growth and for US companies investing in Malaysia,” Keith said at the US Presidential Inauguration party.

“The US will continue to invest in this country and market our products to advance mutual interests,” he said.

Keith also emphasised on the need for governments to join forces to generate economic growth under the current economic environment.

In this respect, he said, new changes in US policies are also expected in the light of current global economic climate.

“The Obama administration will also introduce policies that are more appealing to the present generation,” he said.

Under the current tough times, Keith said it is important to resist temptations on protectionism policies that serves to benefit only individual countries as this will derail trade and global economic growth.

He said businesses are facing tough times with US companies gearing for a long haul of more challenging times.

American-Malaysian Chamber of Commerce president Karen Albertson said as the “going gets tough, the tough gets going” as American firms now under pressure will have to pay close attention to fundamentals that will sustain companies through these hard times.

“American companies will have to look at ways to consolidate their operations, reduce costs and look at ways to eliminate over-capacity,” she said when speaking at the party.

She said there are still opportunities even during the current economic crisis.

Even for the electronics industry, Albertson said there is still ample investment prospects in Malaysia for American companies.

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source: Bernama