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US officials: Malaysia- US FTA by this year


March 14, 2008

US officials: Malaysia- US FTA by this year

US officials hope to conclude the US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by this year, deputy economic counselor of the US Embassy, John Finkbeiner, was quoted by Malaysian national news agency Bernama as saying Wednesday.

Finkbeiner said there were many issues that needed to be discussed as the United States wanted a comprehensive FTA.

At a forum in Kuala Lumpur on "Opportunities in the United States", Finkbeiner said a comprehensive US-Malaysia FTA will include goods, services, investment, telecommunications, financial services and agricultural products.

He said a comprehensive approach also included government procurement, intellectual property protection, harmonisation of customs and rules of origin, competition rules, environment and labour.

Benefits for Malaysia included strengthening of economic relationship, support for the country's national development goals, opportunities for more diversified exports, stimulating growth of services sector and access to US government procurement, Finkbeiner said.

The FTA will also benefit Malaysia in terms of providing more goods and services at lower prices to Malaysian consumers, according to him.

On the prospects of a slowdown in exports from the US this year, Finkbeiner said this will depend on how fast the country was able to recover from the current economic slowdown.

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