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CPTPP Photo: VCG
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) of Malaysia said it is looking forward to welcome China in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), three days after Beijing announced its official application to the regional pact.
Singapore also welcomed China’s interest in entering the CPTPP.
Both Malaysia and Singapore are ASEAN member countries and have joined the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with China.
“The Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia is particularly encouraged with the recent move by China to formally apply for accession into the CPTPP,” the Malaysian National News Agency reported on Sunday.
According to the MITI, Malaysia is looking forward to welcoming economic powerhouse China into the pact as early as next year, adding that “widely regarded as the gold standard for regional trade agreements, the CPTPP offers immense economic opportunities for both Malaysia and China.”
In 2020, China-Malaysia trade reached $131.16 billion, up 5.7 percent year-on-year, according to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM). China has been Malaysia’s largest trading partner for 12 consecutive years.
“With the ongoing domestic efforts setting Malaysia right on track towards ratification and the possible commencement of China’s accession negotiations with the CPTPP membership next year, MITI is confident that bilateral trade and investment ties between Malaysia and China will grow to greater heights in the near future,” it said.
China officially filed an application to join the CPTPP last Thursday, according to a statement issued by the MOFCOM. The minister of commerce filed a written request for CPTPP accession with New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor, acting as CPTPP depositary.
The CPTPP is a free trade deal among 11 countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. It became effective in December 2018 after the US withdrawal in 2017.
Three days before China’s application, Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan, also welcomed China’s interest in the CPTPP on September 13 during a visit by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, according to a statement by the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the visit, the two sides looked forward to the early entry into force of the RCEP, which has been ratified by both Singapore and China.