KUALA LUMPUR: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will contribute to sustaining Malaysia as a preferred trading hub and investment destination, said Malaysia’s Senior Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (pix, right).
Azmin, who is also the International Trade and Industry Minister, said that to Malaysia’s businesses, it meant tariff elimination or reduction for merchandise goods, including the facilitation of export and import of goods among the RCEP member countries.
“Service providers, including (those engaged in) e-commerce, will be able to enjoy greater market access in terms of cross-border supply and establishing commercial presence in the RCEP markets.
“In addition, RCEP will promote, facilitate and protect the investment climate of participating countries within the region.
“This also includes information exchange and promotion of transparency measures to facilitate business and investment within the RCEP area,” he told reporters after the signing of the world’s biggest trade agreement here today.
Mohamed Azmin said realising that the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) played a pivotal role to the backbone of every economy, RCEP could provide a level playing field between developed and least developed countries.
He noted that there was a specific chapter providing provisions for information exchange and promotion of transparency measures to facilitate business and investment within the region including providing economic and technical cooperation especially to SMEs.
RCEP, he said, could be an economic recovery tool against Covid-19 which would help to ensure opening of markets as well as uninterrupted supply chain.
On India’s inclusion into RCEP, Azmin reiterated the importance of having India come back and rejoin the trade pact as the country could play a pivotal role in providing prosperity in the region.
India’s addition, he said, would create bigger markets than 15 member countries, which now represents 28.9 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.
“As much as we want India to rejoin, we appreciate it if they could address their domestic issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, he said Malaysia was not in position to conclude whether the multilateral agreement would make a comeback.
But the country would continue to monitor closely with the new administration in the United States under the leadership of President-elect Joe Biden, he said.
“Certainly we would expect the new administration to focus more on ASEAN and how we can strengthen the US-ASEAN trade and investment opportunities because the ASEAN region has a huge market.
“Surely, it would be competitive to enhance the cooperation, “ he added. — Bernama