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Malaysia, India To Sign FTA

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

18 May 2010

The Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, Mustapa Mohamed, has said that Malaysia and India can be expected to conclude negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement in August, for signature before the end of 2010.

It is planned that the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, will visit Malaysia later this year, when the two countries hope to sign a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA).

Negotiations on the agreement began in January 2008, and it was then hoped that they would be concluded by end-2008 and become effective in 2009. The discussions were, however, halted, and put to one side, while India concentrated on concluding a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Malaysia is also a member, and which came into force on January 1, 2010.

It has been reported that total trade between Malaysia and India fell from its highest level of over USD10bn in 2008 to just over USD7bn last year, due to the global economic recession, but that a bilateral CECA could boost that trade considerably. The CECA will include provisions for trade in goods and services, plus investment and other forms of economic cooperation between the two countries.

Mustapa Mohamed also confirmed that Malaysia hopes to conclude negotiations for other FTAs this year, for example with the European Union, Australia, the Gulf Cooperation Council and Turkey. In addition, Malaysia can be expected to enter into the next round of talks about an expanded Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, at the request of the United States.

TAGS: tax | India | law | trade treaty | agreements | Malaysia | trade

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