US solon eyes legislation on US-ASEAN free trade

October 10, 2009 7:05 pm 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 – A Republican Senator plans to introduce in the United States Senate next week legislation on free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between US and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"The US should proceed to develop a comprehensive strategy toward engaging ASEAN in serious FTA discussions," said Senator Richard Lugar, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"While this endeavor will be complex and have possible challenges to negotiation – given the varying levels of economic development and open markets among ASEAN countries – China, India, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea have already finalized FTAs with ASEAN and are sharpening a competitive edge over the US in Southeast Asia," Lugar said.

He noted on-going trade restrictions with Burma should not deter US efforts to reach an FTA with the rest of ASEAN. (PNA/PTI)

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