Saturday, March 31, 2007

It ain't over till the FTA ladies sign

March 31 2007. That was the cut-off date for the Bush Administration to use its current Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to quicken negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) with friendly countries such as Malaysia.

It isn't happening but nothing to crow about by those who oppose any FTA between Malaysia and the United States, and for that matter the US and other nations.

It ain't over till the FTA ladies sign
, despite the end of the TPA by June 2007, as negotiations will still continue between Malaysian Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz and the US Trade Representative Susan Schwab.

Or rather, by their respective negotiators.

Of course, opinions are diverse on the FTA. The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers are of course supportive while critics are naturally against the agreement.

After going through the laundry list of arguments and counter-arguments, we think the FTA provides a workable mechanism for Malaysia to export more goods and services - where possible and where quality is not an issue - to the United States.

And vice-versa.

Any fear of freeing trade, and we have with ASEAN and soon ASEAN with China, is reflective of being shown up as incompetent to conduct trade and services.

One has to remember that the great Malaccan Empire was founded on free trade though the greed of those who wanted to control that trade led to conquests by European powers, as alluded in Star Wars.

Meanwhile, the fat lady is doing her sound checks.

Test. Test. One. Two. Three. Test. Test


Robin Goodfellow said...

"One has to remember that the great Malaccan Empire was founded on free trade though the greed of those who wanted to control that trade led to conquests by European powers, as alluded in Star Wars."

True. But let us recap. When the Benggali Puteh came over in the first place, they wanted the right to trade in spices and requested so to the Malacca Sultan. Of course, we can speculate that an outright refusal would have brought on an attack by the Portugese anyway. The Sultan chose to attack instead, and unfortunately for him (and Malacca), there were survivors who made it back to India to call for reinforcements and to "avenge" this "attack".

The moral of the story is that some people should not be so "telinga ringan" and listen to instigations by "Jawi Pekan" ministers. After all, what happens in Portugese ruled India should not be an emotional consideration by the Malacca Sultanate. Contrast this with the fact our northern neighbour, Thailand, has yet to be colonised by any foreign powers at that point of time and thereafter. But history has a sad way of repeating itself whereby "Jawi Pekan" advisers are now influencing policy making which will weaken Malaysia in the long-run.

Azer Mantessa said...

interesting comment by robin.

thx for the link on worldwideword.

keep up the good work.

Dek Mat said...


robin goodfellow: yes history may repeat itself but the world's scenario is a little different today.

Today's Jawi Pekans have a more global outreach and according to the current govt's policies, it shud serve the govt well.

Mydeen will testify to this... :)

BTW, Thailand was never colonised physically was because they paid tribute to the bigger forces which included China and even Germany throughout history.

Paying tribute is a form of colonisation don't you think?

mich said...

hehey, what about western cultural imperialism? It is also a form of colonisation, rite? Like NIke, coca-cola, McD...:P
I did not see the term of "western cultural imperialism" for long until I bumped in the Transparency Index report back in year 1997... check it out if you are interested (off topic a bit, sorri ;P)

Mat Merah said...

robin goodfellow,

Thanks for the recap. Yes indeed, the Malaccan Empire suffered from the machinations of the Mamak Bendahara but not the entire community of Jawi Pekan.

I presume when you say Jawi Pekan - it refers to those with a reclusive mentality rather than those with an inclusive mentality.

Whatever it is, negotiations for the FTA has to be done in a transparent manner for all Malaysians to judge for themselves, unlike during the Malaccan Empire when the Sultan only listened to his court.

Now, we all have a say - in some way - and the government of the day will have to weigh its options and decide on the matter.

That it is taking its time is a good sign. That it takes into consideration just the concerns of Bumiputera rights is a sign that we have yet to be confident of competing on a level playing field for all Malaysians.

azer, Thank you for dropping by. Your presence is much welcomed.

mich, Western Cultural Imperialism probably includes the way we speak and write and the way we think sometimes.

Think of it as collaboration. We can give as much as we take too.