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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2525

Pakistan, Malaysia to finalize FTA in few months: Pak PM

By Iqbal Hussain Khan Yousafzai – Reporting from Islamabad

Islamabad, 13 May ( Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and his Malaysian counterpart Abdullah Ahmed Badawi met in the Indonesian
resort of Bali on Friday on the sidelines of the Development Eight (D-8) Summit to exchange views on bilateral and regional issues and agreed to expedite ongoing negotiations for an early signing of the Free Trade Agreement.

"We are moving very fast and hope to finalize the FTA during the next couple of months, Mr. Shaukat Aziz told reporters jointly with his Malaysian counterpart after the meeting.

Malaysian Prime Minister Badawi expressed satisfaction over the strong bilateral ties between the two countries that continue to grow with the passage of time.

He also accepted an invitation by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to visit Pakistan.

Prime Minister Aziz, responding to a question, said that he discussed matters relating to OIC which is currently chaired by Malaysia. "The OIC under his (Prime Minister Badawi) leadership has taken a lot of initiatives,like capacity building and other issues and Pakistan fully supports these initiatives," he said.

He expressed satisfaction at the growing number of Pakistanis working in Malaysia.

Later, briefing newsmen, Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmoud Kasuri said that Pakistan and Malaysia enjoy close cooperation.

The two countries had already signed the "Early Harvest Programme" which is in force since January 1 this year and is the first step towards FTA.

Under the Early Harvest Malaysia has given tariff concessions on 114 items as against 125 by Pakistan which has secured lower duty of 5 per cent from
50 per cent on textile products that constitute most of the country'sexports to the South East Asian country.

Mr. Aziz noted the historically strong ties between the two countries and expressed the confidence that frequent high-level contacts between the two countries would further strengthen and expand diplomatic, political and economic ties.

Mr. Kasuri said that Prime Minister Aziz thanked the Malaysian leader for taking personal interest with regard to Pakistani labour working in Malaysia. On D-8, the two leaders agreed that it was an important forum and decided to adopt coordinated policies to make it an effective body.

The two leaders noted great potential in D-8 and agreed that if needed an institutionalized mechanism could be created to achieve its desired objectives.

Mr. Shaukat Aziz extended an invitation to the Malaysian counterpart to attend the Muslim Economic Forum to be held in Islamabad in November, which was accepted.

- Asian Tribune -

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