TWN Info Service
on Free Trade Agreements
20 November 2009
Miti to make decision on Malaysia-US FTA talks soon
Business Times, Malaysia
19 November 2009
By Rupa Damodaran
Trade Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed hopes to find out in a few weeks
if the country should still pursue a free trade area deal with the US,
its biggest trading partner, or join a regional pact instead.
has indicated its preference to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),
an existing deal that consists of Singapore, New Zealand, Brunei and Chile.
chief negotiator Barbara Weisel met Ministry of International Trade
and Industry secretary-general Tan Sri Rahman Mamat in Kuala Lumpur yesterday
and conveyed the news.
"We need to know if we should embrace the TPP
or abandon the bilateral FTA with the US," Mustapa
said at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur
Miti, he added, will conduct its own study on the TPP,
which may be joined by Australia, Peru, Vietnam and the
Mustapa plans to brief the cabinet in next few weeks and get a mandate
on whether Malaysia
should continue to pursue the bilateral partnership or the TPP.
The Malaysia-US FTA talks which commenced in 2006, saw eight rounds
of discussions but got stuck on issues like government preference for
has signed three bilateral trade agreements so far, namely with Japan, Pakistan and New Zealand.
The government is now in talks with India, Chile and Australia.
Earlier, Mustapa said the Asean-6, a group that consists of Malaysia,
will be a complete free trade area when duties on most products are
Come January 1 2010,
has committed to scrapping import duties on 1,943 products, reduce import
duties to 5 per cent for tropical fruits, tobacco and tobacco products,
and reduce import duties for rice to 20 per cent.
Under the Common Effective Preferential Tariff (CEPT) Scheme for Afta
(Asean Free Trade Area), he said 2,524 companies have applied for 103,745
COOs (Certificates of Origin) in the first nine months of 2009 totalling
Companies with a COO will qualify
for the lower or zero duties under Afta.
Also, come January 1 2010,
90 per cent of the products traded under the Asean-China and Asean-Korea
FTAs will be duty free, he added.
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