Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Investment interest still strong, says envoy

OUTGOING US ambassador James Keith says there has been no let-up in investment interest between the US and Malaysia despite stalled bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) talks.

There have been eight rounds of discussions since 2006, but the talks ended when the US administration changed more than a year ago.

Keith said he was still confident that bilateral investments would continue regardless of whether or not there was a bilateral trade agreement or a broader pact like the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), which the US is promoting currently.

The TPP was initiated by Singapore, Chile, New Zealand and Brunei, and later saw Australia, Peru, Vietnam and the US joining in.

Was he disappointed that a bilateral trade agreement could not be inked during his tenure in Kuala Lumpur?

"These things have their own rhythm and you cannot force the pace," he said during a media briefing yesterday.

Keith is leaving Kuala Lumpur for his next posting in Afghanistan.

On his almost three-year tenure here, Keith said that it was memorable to witness the change in administration in both the US, with the election to office of President Barack Obama, and Malaysia, with the change of guard to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

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