Malaysia and India have agreed to try to finalise a free-trade agreement by March 2009, Indian officials said Wednesday after the first round of talks.
The two-day negotiations in the Malaysian capital established a roadmap for the deal which is aimed at "forging a long-term, comprehensive and dynamic economic partnership between the two countries", they said.
"Both sides will endeavour to complete the negotiations by March 2009," the Indian High Commission (embassy) said in a statement.
Malaysia has said that a bilateral pact -- which will cover trade in goods and services, investment and economic cooperation -- could boost its exports to India by 1.3 times, or 12 billion dollars, by 2012.
In 2006, India was Malaysia's ninth largest trading partner, ninth largest export destination and 17th largest import source.
The next round of talks will be held in New Delhi on April 10-12.
Agence France-Presse - 2/6/2008 4:04 AM