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CECA with India icing on the cake: Malaysian PM

world Updated: Jul 09, 2010 00:06 IST

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak today said the proposed comprehensive economic cooperation agreement(CECA) with New Delhi will help facilitate bilateral trade and investments.

The agreement would be signed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Malaysia later this year. Stating that the pact will aid trade and improve cultural ties between the two countries, Najib said, 'the CECA is the icing on the cake as it would provide overarching umbrella agreement to facilitate two-day trade and investment." Najib was addressing newsmen on the sidelines of a seminar on Malaysia-India strategic partnership-tapping.

The meet was inaugurated jointly by Najib and visiting commerce and industry Minister Anand Sharma. In his keynote address Najib said, "we are deeply committed to take our ties to even greater height. I am looking forward to the services agreement and the CECA."

However, Malaysian officials working on the agreement observed that there are some issues that need to be sorted out which are time consuming. Issues like the movement of persons is a key concern to New Delhi, while for Kuala Lumpur the palm oil is an issue. India is one of Malaysia's biggest markets for palm oil.

Noting that the CECA negotiations are "being constrained by some seemingly difficult issues," Najib proposed a more 'pragmatic' approach to be adopted and stressed that the focus should be on what is 'doable and achievable' so that the 'negotiations lead to a win-win situation for both sides.'

In the first five months of the year bilateral trade between India and Malaysia has gone up over 11 percent on a year to year basis. Both Najib and Sharma hoped that the target of USD 15 billion bilateral trade would be met much before 2015.