Malaysia focuses on regional cooperation partnership as TPP prospect unclear

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/11/15 17:01:57

Malaysia is focusing on the negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the prospect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hangs in the balance after the US presidential election, a senior official said Tuesday.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed said the focus of his country is now on RCEP involving 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its six major trading partners in Asia Pacific region, including China.

"During the last Ministerial Meeting in Cebu, the Philippines, we have made some progress in narrowing the gaps on key issues for Goods, Services and Investment," he said in a statement.

"The current uncertain international economic situation has motivated and strengthened the resolve of RCEP countries, which are among the fastest growing countries in the world, to continue working closely in reaching a conclusion of this trade agreement," he said.

Mustapa's statement came after the victory by Republican candidate Donald Trump in the US presidential election last week. During his campaign, Trump has been openly against the TPP, which involves Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

US Congressional leaders said they would not rush through the 12-nation trade pact under the remaining presidency of Barack Obama.

TPP would only come into effect after ratification of at least 6 countries, accounting for 85 percent of the total economy of the 12 countries. The US GDP alone constitutes about 60 percent of the total TPP Members' GDP. Hence, there will be no TPP without the US participation, Mustapa said.

He warned against "a rising trend of protectionism and inward-looking sentiment" in some countries against the backdrop of sluggish global economy.

"It is imperative for the global community to continue holding an open dialogue and engagement to stop this trend from getting translated into misguided policies which could dampen the global trade growth," he said.


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