Malaysia has become the 12th country to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement after Malaysia’s Instrument of Ratification (IOR) IOR had been successfully submitted to the ASEAN Secretariat on 17 January 2022.
The Agreement will come into force after 60 days of the IOR submission with it coming into force on March 18, 2022
In a statement by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, it said with the latest submission of IOR to the ASEAN Secretariat as the Depositary of RCEP, Malaysia will join the eleven other signatory countries, namely, Singapore, China, Japan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea that have completed the ratification process.
Currently, RCEP is the largest Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the world, covering 15 countries with 2.2 billion or nearly a third (29.5%) of the world’s population, representing US$25.8 trillion or 29.4% of the world’s GDP based on World Bank’s 2019 data.
It said that stressing that RCEP is a testament to efforts to strengthen not only the multilateral trading system but advancing regional economic integration and uphold the development agenda of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement said that within ASEAN, Malaysia is expected to be the largest beneficiary of the RCEP agreement in terms of gains in exports, with a projected US$200 million increase.
According to a report by UNCTAD published on 15 December 2021, these gains will result from tariff elimination and reduction for merchandise goods, including the facilitation of export and import of goods among the RCEP countries.
Furthermore, service providers including e-commerce will be able to enjoy greater market access in terms of cross-border supply and establishing commercial presence in the RCEP markets.
It said that the pandemic has underscored the paramount importance of international trade and cooperation as well as the inter-linkages of regional supply chains.
In this regard, RCEP would be a key enabler for Malaysia in revitalising the domestic and international business activities, post pandemic.