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US wanted FTA talks postponed

KUALA LUMPUR, 15 Jan 2009: The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations between Malaysia and the US have been postponed because of a request from Washington, DC, International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

“This is not the ministry’s decision. Fact is the talks have been temporarily stopped on the request made by the US. We should have had a meeting before the end of 2008, but they requested for the postponement,” he said.

This was probably because of the transition of power from President George W. Bush to newly-elected president Barack Obama, Muhyiddin said when asked about the FTA’s status.

Apart from that, the ministry was also closely studying the matter. Malaysia is not rushing into the FTA as there are many issues to consider under the various sectors under negotiation, he added.

On the boycott of US products in Malaysia, Muhyiddin said: “If there are Malaysians who want to take such an action, it is their right. As for the government, we have not taken any decision on the matter.” — Bernama



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One Response to “US wanted FTA talks postponed”

  1. sans says:

    Two interesting articles I have come across.

    Article 1

    The article above (last paragraph on the 2nd has more details), indicates there is a network of companies in Malaysia aiding Iran to get banned US technology.

    Article 2

    In a rather longish article in the New York Times, I came across a reference to a Malaysian company, the Malaysian Smelting Co. This is a company listed on the KLSE but it looks like the majority shareholders are Singaporeans.

    The relevant page is below.

    On the 2nd last paragraph on this page, it implies that Malaysian Smelting Company is buying tin from international brokers who source from the conflict zone in Congo.

    The exact extract is: “The flights land in Goma, the provincial capital, where other middlemen buy and process the ore for export. Alexis Makabuza’s Global Mining Company is one of these buyers. Amid the sorting and cleaning equipment of his rudimentary processing plant sit dozens of barrels of tin ore. On each is stenciled the address of Malaysian Smelting Company Berhad, a major tin smelter. Mr. Makabuza said he sold to the company via a minerals broker.”

    Further reference to Malaysian companies buying tin from warlords in the Congo is here from the BBC:

    The extract from the BBC article is as follows: “Located predominantly in India, China, Malaysia and Thailand, these smelters sell tin to component manufacturers.”

    So while Malaysian Smelting Co buys from an international broker, it can request that they not source from Congo. If you read the entire article, you will realise that buying the ore only lines the pockets of these warlords and destabilises the country.

    I e-mailed the company but they have not replied. I would not reply, too in similar circumstances.

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