KUALA LUMPUR: Following the signing of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with 10 other Asia Pacific countries on March 8, Malaysia sends a strong signal of the country’s commitment towards an open and liberal trading system, in light of recent protectionist sentiment which is prevalent in a number of countries.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the necessary steps to amend the relevant laws in order to complete the ratification process and enable the implementation of the CPTPP as early as possible have already begun.
"What the world needs now is more trade and investment flows and not restricted markets.
"Malaysia believes that this agreement will help us to further promote our trade and investment agenda and mitigate the challenges of the global economic environment," Mustapa said in a statement.
The 10 countries that signed the CPTPP agreement together with Malaysia are Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam.
"As one of the pioneer members who has successfully negotiated the Agreement ‘on our terms’, Malaysia should not miss the opportunity to grab the benefits of this Agreement and efforts to complete the ratification process should be intensified,” he added.
Despite the absence of the US, Mustapa believes Malaysia still stands to gain from market access to countries like Canada, Peru and Mexico with whom we currently do not have preferential trading arrangement.
"In addition to the market access, our participation in the CPTPP will also benefit us in terms of enhancing governance in a number of economic sectors, strengthening economic cooperation among member countries and promoting adoption of international standards," he added.
Mustapa said CPTPP will open up the door for more Malaysian companies to expand their presence beyond the borders of our country as well as strengthening Malaysia’s position as a premier investment destination – which will eventually create additional quality jobs for the people.
"The Malaysian public at large will also benefit from the increase in consumer choices on goods and services in our market,” he added.
The CPTPP was concluded on January 23, 2018 in Tokyo after eight rounds of negotiations which started in early 2017 at Ministers and Senior Officials level.
With the conclusion of the CPTPP, Mustapa said MITI and colleagues from other Ministries and Agencies will now focus the attention on concluding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation.
"It is our view that both CPTPP and RCEP will serve as building blocks towards a more open and fairer trade and investment regime in the Asia Pacific region,” he said.