U.S. and Malaysia to Try to Conclude FTA Negotiations In the Coming Months
Earlier talks never really got going, but both sides
have apparently realized that their last best chance to forge a deal
may come following Malaysia's March parliamentary elections while the
current U.S. Administration is still in place. A two-way free trade
agreement between the two nations would be quite important, but
significant differences still need to be overcome in areas such as
government procurement, financial services, intellectual property
rights, telecommunications, Malaysia's ethnic preference programs, etc.
The U.S. side also lacks "fast track" negotiating authority, meaning
Congress would have the potentially crippling right to amend any
resulting package that comes before it for ratification. In short,
it's hard to tell whether the two sides are stuck in the polite charade
of not wanting to publicly admit defeat, or whether they really think
an FTA is possible.
01-28-2008 8:30 AM