Should the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) fail to take place, it will signal a missed opportunity for Malaysia, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. File Pix by Ikhwan Munir

KUALA LUMPUR: Should the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) fail to take place, it will signal a missed opportunity for Malaysia, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

Malaysia, he said, was one of clear winners earmarked in the TPP.

“Our negotiating team had managed to secure a number of valuable concessions while at the same time protect our national interest including the Bumiputera policies.”

Malaysians, he said, should and must take comfort in knowing that they have a highly capable negotiating team ready to defend Malaysia’s interest in any future bilateral or multilateral trade negotiations.

New United States President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order on Monday, withdrawing the US from the TPP, which Mustapa said was not surprising as Trump had many times in the past vowed to withdraw the U.S. from the TPP, referring to the deal as a “potential disaster” to the American economy.

The TPPA was signed by the 12 countries in the grouping in Auckland on Feb 4 last year.

The agreement required the US participate as it accounts for about 60 per cent of the combined GDP of the 12 members. Under the agreement, a minimum of six countries accounting for 85 per cent of the combined GDP of the 12 members must ratify before the TPP can enter into force.

So far, Japan and New Zealand have completed their domestic ratification process. Japan has already deposited its instrument of ratification on January 20, 2017.

On Trump's view that the TPP would cause job losses in the US and outflow of funds to other TPP countries, Mustapa said: "In our view, the TPP is a balanced agreement beneficial to all of its members. The US will also benefit from better market access to countries which they do not have FTA with such as Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia."

He said the chief negotiators from the 11 other countries will be in constant communication with each other to consider all available options before deciding on the best way forward.

Malaysia's focus would be to enhance the economic integration of Asean in the context of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025, push for the timely conclusion of the RCEP, as well as pursue bilateral FTAs including with TPP members with whom Malaysia currently do not have any preferential trading arrangement.

Malaysia will continue to monitor closely developments with regard to the trade policies of the US, the third largest trading partner and a major source of investment.

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