KUALA LUMPUR, January 31 — The withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will help hasten the process of concluding negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
This will benefit all 16 participating countries, says the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC).
The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) involving 10 ASEAN countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam alongside Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
MCCC President Tan Yew Sing said without the TPPA, Malaysia and the other countries still have the RCEP, although we are moving slower on a conclusion.
“The decision by President Donald Trump will now boost the momentum and help the conclusion process,” he told Bernama.
The RCEP member states with a population of 3.4 billion have a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$21.4 trillion (US$1= RM4.43), which is about 30 per cent of that globally.
Meanwhile, the TPPA accounted for 40% of global GDP.
It involved Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam. It was expected to be ratified by all nations by end-2018.
The RCEP, on the other hand, will likely be agreed to by end-2017.
Commenting on this, Tan said the RCEP participating countries will benefit from the agreement, although it is slightly smaller in coverage when compared to the TPPA.
Meanwhile, Tan urged local small and medium enterprises of all races to join the MCCC, as a platform to penetrate China.
He said the chamber is not only focused on helping Chinese companies but also the Bumiputeras and Indians.
“The objective is to increase Malaysian exports and improve revenue for the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said recently that Malaysia would focus on the RCEP with the TPPA having been aborted by the United States.
He said the current uncertain international economic situation had motivated and strengthened the resolve of RCEP countries, which are among the fastest growing economies in the world.