Indo-Malaysia FTA in the pipeline

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Singapore, Nov 24: India and Malaysia are all set to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in January 2008, Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz said.

Approval for the negotiations, which will cover trade in goods and services, investment and economic cooperation, came from the Cabinet two weeks ago, Ms Rafidah was quoted as saying by the Malaysian national news agency Bernama.

''The decision ensues from a joint study by both governments on the merits of having an FTA,'' she said in her keynote address at the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)-Private sector dinner in Kuala Lumpur last night.

There is ample export potential between India and Malaysia and under a bilateral FTA it could go up by 1.3 times to 11.85 billion dollar for Malaysia, and 2.5 times to 4.63 billion dollar for India by 2012.

Under the FTA, both countries will have avenues to explore the potential in at least 13 sectors, including information communication technology (ICT), particularly software development, biotechnology, education and tourism.

Other sectors include transport, human resource development, healthcare, pharmaceutical, cooperatives, energy, small and medium enterprise (SME) development, Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and agriculture.


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