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Revisiting proposed M’sia-US FTA talks
Samirul Ariff Othman | 16 Jun 2017 00:30

As the world’s leading economic power, the United States has sought to use various instruments to enhance its trading position with other countries. In recent decades, as efforts at comprehensive free-trade solution through such entities as the World Trade Organisation faltered, the US increasingly looked to bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) to achieve this end.

On March 8, 2006, the then US President George Bush announced that negotiations had begun with Malaysia for a free trade agreement. He noted that Malaysia is the 10th largest trading partner of the US, while the US is Malaysia’s largest export market. That same day, the US and Malaysia launched talks on the FTA. The US specifically hoped to expand American exports and bolster a “moderate” Muslim ally. An FTA with Malaysia appeared to have strong bipartisan congressional support because of Malaysia’s dependability in the fight against terrorism, its tolerance and multiculturalism.