NEW DELHI : India and Malaysia are firming up a framework for conducting trade in national currencies and initiating a process to review the 12-year-old comprehensive economic cooperation agreement to include new domains and items, Malaysian Foreign Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said.
At the end of a three-day visit to India, Kadir said that both sides are keen to expand trade engagement in new and emerging areas such as electronics, semiconductors, fintech, renewable energy, new technology and startups.
Mr. Kadir also expressed Malaysia’s gratitude to India for providing 170,000 metric tonnes of non-basmati white rice recently when the country was reeling under shortage of rice.
India banned export of non-basmati white rice in July, but the restriction was lifted for a small number of countries last month.
To a question on escalating tensions in South China Sea in view of China’s increasing assertiveness, Mr. Kadir said Malaysia and other member nations of the ASEAN do not want to allow this region to become a “flashpoint” and an area for “big power” competition.
Listing various measures to expand India-Malaysia bilateral trade, he said both sides are finalising the framework for conducting trade in national currencies.
“We want to use it and both the countries can benefit from it. We think such a move will strengthen the local currencies,” he said.
India is in talks with a number of partner countries to develop alternative arrangements for trade settlements in national currencies in addition to the existing system of using freely convertible currencies like the U.S. dollar.
The Malaysian Foreign Minister also said that he and Jaishankar discussed the need for having a re-look at the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) that came into effect in July, 2011.
“We feel there is a need to have a re-look at it to include new areas of trade like the digital economy and other emerging areas,” Mr. Kadir said.
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