No U-Turns On Trade Agreements Please

There have been calls by certain quarters for Malaysia to withdraw from the Comprehensive & Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which took effect on November 29th, 2022, they are pushing their agenda in the wake of a new Minister coming on board to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

However, the Malaysian Consortium of Mid-Tier Companies said it stands with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers against these calls and to stick with the agreement as the benefits outweigh any shortcomings it might have.

“Malaysia CANNOT afford to withdraw from CPTPP. Unlike other trade agreements, the CPTTP does not only open up trade but also brings about technical assistance and technology/know-how transfer, which are critical for capacity building for our local businesses. Malaysia’s recovery from the pandemic is already lagging behind our ASEAN neighbours. The delay in ratification has already caused Malaysia to lose ground in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Vietnam, which signed earlier in January 2019, has become the springboard for Canada into the ASEAN market via the CPTPP. It could have been Malaysia.” said MCMTC President Callum Chen.

Malaysia being a trade-dependent country, should be looking for more agreements to participate in order to expand its reach for its agriculture and manufacturing industry. In terms of population and land area but in terms of trade, we are ranked 25th in the World and have now become an integral part of the global supply chain. This did not happen by chance or overnight, but through relentless efforts on the part of the industry. Simply put trade and industry are the life-blood of the nation.

On the CPTPP, the process has been hard and arduous, the teams at the Ministry of International Trade & Industry (MITI) and MATRADE have worked hard with the industry to ensure that Malaysia is not left behind in this highly competitive and unpredictably volatile global scenario. Any reversal will be disastrous!

Does Malaysia really want to reverse out from the global market of 508 million people (the combined population of 11 countries as of 2019, representing 6.6% of the world population), which generates a GDP of USD11.3 trillion (13% of the World GDP, 15% of total world trade)? With the UK, China, Chinese Taipei, and Ecuador added in, the combined population will be 2 billion (26% of the world population), with a GDP estimated at USD29 trillion (33% of the world GDP, accounting for 32.8% of total world trade). The potential advantages of remaining in this market are crystal clear for the incoming MITI Minister Tengku Zafrul.

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