Malaysia needs 18 more amendments to join CPTPP


Malaysia will need to make 18 legislative amendments to be in the entry force of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (picture) said the CPTPP is expected to come into effect in January 2019.

“The signing of the agreement is to take place on March 8 in Chile and we are expecting all 11 countries to sign.

“After the signing, we need at least 50%, or six countries to make domestic amendments to complete the ratification process for the agreement to take effect,” he said.

Mustapa explained that the Malaysian legislation needs a total of 19 amendments and one of it has already been amended.

“It is definitely going to be a challenge to amend 18 legislations in one year. Especially with the elections looming, we will only have two Parliament sessions.

“We have been told that it cannot be done. However, MITI is doing everything in its capacity to push for the legislations to be amended,” he added.

MITI secretary general Datuk Seri J Jayasiri said although the 11 countries have an unconditional timeline to make the domestic amendments, it was important for Malaysia to be among the first six countries, or the entry force, of the CPTPP.

“If we are not the first batch, then we will have to wait. But if we are there (in the CPTPP) from the start, we will enjoy the benefits of the agreement from the time it takes effect,” Jayasiri said.

Mustapa also said the Cabinet’s decision to sign the CPTPP was not rushed, stressing that extensive research was conducted to ensure it was the best decision for Malaysia.

“It took one whole year and the officials have met a few times over this course to ensure all aspects are covered.

“There is some opposition from certain quarters, but I can say for sure that the biggest challenge is to make the legislative changes,” he said in a press conference after launching the MITI Day 2018 yesterday.

“To be a part of the global value chain, you have to be a part of such major trade agreements,” he said.

The original Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement which included the US was revised as the TPP-11 after the US pulled out in January 2017.

Following that, in November 2017, all the existing parties to the agreement met at the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, and reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement — subsequently renamed as the CPTPP.