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 Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
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 Business TImes
 KL issues 14 licences for biodiesel projects

April 5 2006 (Business Times)  -  THE Government has issued 14 licences for biodiesel projects in Malaysia so far, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz said yesterday.

Another 36 applications are being evaluated, she told participants of the National Investment & Trade Dialogue & Seminar on Business Opportunities in the manufacturing and services sector in Kuala Lumpur.

“Some are already in operation, using crude palm oil or processed palm oil,” Rafidah said.

The minister was asked by a participant during the dialogue session whether there was a freeze on biodiesel projects given the overwhelming response to the new industry.

Rafidah said the Government believed in an open approach when providing investment opportunities to the private sector.

“We’re currently watching to see how fast this industry will grow. Remember how the rubber glove industry expanded so fast when there were so many eager beavers who wanted to join in then?” she said.

Meanwhile, Rafidah allayed concerns some participants had about potential threats from free trade agreements (FTAs), pointing out that the launch of FTA talks do not mean tariffs will be cut immediately.

“In any FTA, if we find that we cannot accede to the other party’s request and they cannot accede to ours, then there will be no FTA,” she said.

Malaysia is currently involved in FTA negotiations with Pakistan, Australia and New Zealand.

Apart from a study on a proposed FTA with Chile, Malaysia will also commence negotiations on a FTA with the US.

“The private sector should provide their views to Miti on issues and impediments to facilitate and assist the Government in promoting the sector’s interests in the FTAs under negotiation,” she said.

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