November 2006 update on the Australia-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement negotiations

A MAFTA inter-sessional meeting on services was held in Kuala Lumpur from 20 to 22 November 2006.

An Australian presentation on a “two annex” negative list approach to scheduling services and investment commitments was well attended with 50 Malaysian officials participating in discussions.  While engaged in the discussions Malaysia continues to prefer a World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)-style positive list approach.

We made some progress on joint draft services text, although our ability to reach agreement in relation to certain key articles was constrained by the impasse over preferred scheduling approaches.

Discussions moved forward constructively on draft text setting out a framework for the negotiation of mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) between competent bodies.