US wants to hold back FTA talks with Malaysia for a while

Bernama - Wednesday, November 26 2008

US WANTS TO HOLD BACK FTA TALKS WITH MALAYSIA FOR A WHILE

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 (Bernama) — The United States wants to hold back the US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks until its new government is in place by January next year, International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today.

"I have been informed by the new administration that they want to hold back until the new government of (US President-elect) Barrack Obama comes in and then they will begin the negotiations," he told reporters after officiating the National Manufacturing Conference here.

According to Muhyiddin, the negotiations will not be going back to square one.

"Whatever progress has been made in the previous negotiations, we will continue. We want to move forward," he said.

"We have been given a new mandate by the Cabinet to see how things can be addressed. Some of contentious issues, we will see what will happen," he said.

The FTA talks, which started in June 2006, have been delayed due to some unresolved issues between the two countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had earlier this month said the progress of the Malaysia-US FTA negotiations would depend on the policies implemented by the Obama administration.

He said Malaysia was keen to see the policies of Obama, the first African-American president to enter the White House.

"We want to see the policies of the new president. It looks like we cannot conclude the FTA talks under the administration of current President George W. Bush," said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.

"I hope they (the US) will see that what the world actually needs is not more assistance but a free trade regime that is fair and just," he said.

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source: Bernama