Malaysia in process of amending Acts in order to ratify RCEP — MITI – The Edge Markets MY

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 13): The government is currently refining the draft amendments to three Acts as it moves towards ratifying the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lim Ban Hong.

He said the Attorney-General’s Chambers is refining the draft amendments to the Patents Act 1983, Copyright Act 1987 and Trademarks Act 2019, which are under the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, and these are expected to be tabled in Parliament at year end.

“To complete the RCEP ratification process, these Acts need to be amended. This is necessary to ensure that they are in line with Malaysia’s obligations and commitments under the RCEP agreement,” he said during the Dewan Negara’s question-and-answer (Q&A) session here on Wednesday.

He was replying to Senator Lim Hui Ying, who wanted to be updated on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and RCEP, as well as on the government’s interest to continue negotiations at this time.

Ban Hong explained that the RCEP was signed by 15 countries — 10 ASEAN member states and five ASEAN dialogue partners including Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand — on Nov 15 last year.

“The RCEP agreement will only come into force after at least six ASEAN member states and three ASEAN dialogue partners have ratified it. So far, China, Japan and Singapore are among the countries that have ratified it and the agreement is expected to be effective from January 2022,” he added.

Earlier this week, Brunei became the sixth country to ratify the free trade agreement (FTA).

On the CPTPP, Ban Hong said the FTA was signed on March 8, 2018 among 11 Asia-Pacific nations, including Malaysia.

“The CPTPP pact has gradually entered into force since December 2018 for Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Peru. The other three signatories, namely Brunei, Chile and Malaysia, have not ratified and enforced the CPTPP.

“The government has intensified efforts to complete the amendments to the related Acts to enable Malaysia to ratify the CPTPP,” he said.

According to him, six Acts have been passed in Parliament to date.

The eight remaining Acts that need to be amended and approved include four Acts under the Ministry of Human Resources — the Employment Act 1955, Trade Unions Act 1959, Labour Ordinance (Sabah Chapter 67) and Labour Ordinance (Sarawak Chapter 76).

The others are the Geographical Indications Act 2000, Patents Act 1983 and Copyright Act 1987 under the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, as well as the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

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