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Malaysia to push for bilateral trade deal with US: Najib

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia will be seeking to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with the United States following the US’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday (Sep 8). This will be on the agenda during his visit to the White House on September 12, as the US was more in favour of bilateral than multilateral trade agreements, he said.

Mr Najib said he hoped US companies would see Malaysia as a viable country to invest in. Photo: AP

Mr Najib said he hoped US companies would see Malaysia as a viable country to invest in. Photo: AP

KUALA LUMPUR  Malaysia will be seeking to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with the United States following the US’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said Prime Minister Najib Razak on Friday (Sep 8).

This will be on the agenda during his visit to the White House on September 12, as the US was more in favour of bilateral than multilateral trade agreements, he said.

"There will be a formal meeting on bilateral trade. With the present US administration in favour of bilateral arrangements, Malaysia is open to it," Mr Najib said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur after chairing a ruling coalition Barisan Nasional supreme council meeting.

"We will begin some initial discussion whether this is the route that we can pursue and what kind of time frame for it to be achieved.”

Mr Trump in January withdrew the US from the TPP, preferring bilateral trade agreements to multilateral treaties like the 12-nation pact.

The US announced in July that it would be looking to establish working groups with Malaysia to address trade matters.

Mr Najib said he hoped US companies would see Malaysia as a viable country to invest in and be able to form "two way mutually beneficial partnerships” once a bilateral agreement was achieved.

Mr Najib added that the 11 countries including Malaysia which are still in the TPP would be discussing "some sort of multilateral arrangement" soon.

"There is also the 11 TPP countries (minus the US) that will be meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, with a possibility to come to some sort of multilateral trade arrangement.” THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

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