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KUALA LUMPUR: The delay in ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) resulted in “lost opportunities” for the nation, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
“Almost five years have passed since the implementation of the CPTPP, where Malaysia lost the opportunity to benefit from the agreement owing to the ratification which has yet to be completed,” the International Trade and Industry Minister said when wrapping up his ministerial replies on Budget 2022 in Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Nov 15).
He said the effort to ratify the trade agreement is expected to be completed latest by the third quarter of next year.
At present, he said that Malaysia is accorded observer status and does not have any rights to block any decisions made with regard to enforcement of the trade agreement.
The CPTPP was signed by 11 nations, including Malaysia in 2018.
The agreement is currently enforced by Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
Among the benefits, Azmin said were access to a wider market following the lowering and abolition of duties on goods imported from Malaysia.
He added that the market under CPTPP is expected to grow much larger as the United Kingdom, China and Taiwan are now new members of the trade agreement.
Owing to non-ratification of the agreement, he added that Malaysian goods are presently not entitled to preferential treatment if exported to Canada, Mexico and Peru.
He cited Vietnam as an Asean nation, which had benefited from the CPTPP.
“Vietnam saw exports increased by 8% or US$34.3bil in 2019 compared to the year before,” he said.
He added that Vietnam also saw US$9.2bil in direct investment from CPTPP nations or 24% of the nation’s foreign investment for 2019.
Meanwhile, Azmin assured MPs that ratification of the CPTPP would not prejudice the special rights of bumiputra here.
He said there were exceptions given with regard to bumiputra rights under the CPTPP.
Among them, Azmin said were government procurement, providing subsidies and issuance of licences and special permits.