Jun 28, 1988


KUALA LUMPUR, JUNE 25 (KUNA) -- Asian should now come out with its own proposals for negotiations in the current Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN), Malaysian Trade and Industry Minister Rafidah Aziz said Saturday.

The six-member Asian grouping – Malaysia, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei – should come out with its own lobby instead of being a commentator and merely react to proposals tabled by other countries in the negotiations, she added.

"Although Malaysia had informally come forth with its proposal on harmonisation of tariffs on tropical products, we have not seen an Asian proposal yet", she told a news conference here.

The press conference was called to reiterate Malaysia’s stance in four areas of negotiations of the four-year Uruguay round conducted under the auspices of the 96-member General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) launched since September 20, 1986.

She also said Malaysia had agreed to participate in the GATT integrated database meeting aimed at providing information on tariff and non-tariff measures among GATT members to facilitate negotiations.

Rafidah said she would seek the mandate from cabinet to participate in and endorse decisions taken by GATT Trade Ministers at the mid-term review of the Uruguay round to be held in Montreal, Canada from December 4 to 7. (more/kuna)

The Minister expressed confidence that the mid-term review would arrive at some interim and early results especially in the area of tropical products.

Rafidah said early results on tropical products in Montreal would boost confidence in the MTN among developing countries whose economies depended greatly on the export of tropical products.

She expressed Malaysia’s concern over the move by certain countries to link the progress in tropical products with negotiations in agriculture, saying that the move would slow down negotiations.

In this context, she said she had requested Malaysia’s negotiators in Geneva to participate in all discussions and the National Committee on MTN here to examine closely all proposals to formulate the country’s positions on various issues.

It was important that Malaysia’s stance and perception on negotiations in four areas in the MTN be addressed to create better awareness among local traders and exporters on government’s efforts and its negotiators in GATT to keep export markets open.

The areas included negotiations in tropical products, agriculture, Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) and on the Functioning of the GATT System (FOGS).