CPTPP to waive tariffs for goods traded to Peru, Japan

Malaysia still needs to pass the remaining 18 amendments as part of the ratification process, says chief negotiator


THE implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will result in an immediate elimination of import duties for goods traded to Canada, Mexico, Peru and Japan.

Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) secretary general and CPTPP chief negotiator Datuk Seri J Jayasiri (picture) said the goods comprise electrical and electronics (E&E), rubber, palm oil, automotive components and wood products.

“The import duties for these goods currently range between 5% and 10%, and once the agreement is ready, Malaysian businesses will enjoy zero tariff on these items.

“For example, we have two other agreements with Japan — the Asean-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the bilateral FTA — which did not resolve issues pertaining to wood product as we have with the CPTPP,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers’ seminar on CPTPP in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that towards the finalisation of Malaysia’s ratif icat ion process, import duties of other exports goods are expected to be removed gradually.

Jayasiri said the benefits from the recently signed agreement will come into effect 60 days after the first six countries completed their internal domestic ratification.

At present, he said Malaysia still needs to pass the remaining 18 legislative amendments as part of the ratification process, before qualifying to be in the entry force of the agreement.

“So far, we have passed one amendment which comes under the Labour Law, and we still need 18 more to pass, which the bulk of them are related to labour, custom and intellectual property.

“However, most of the basis had already been prepared and now we are at the stage of legality and going through the legislative chambers.

“Also, some of the legislative amendments were unrelated to the CPTPP, and that might prolong the process. However, the ministries had decided that they are pertinent to be reviewed in order to comply with other international obligations and make the laws relevant to the current situation,” he said.

In an earlier report, MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed had expressed a realistic view on the possibility of Malaysian businesses unable to reap the CPTPP’s benefit next year due to the coming general election.

Although Jayasiri refused to comment on the specific timeline, he said the election process should not hinder the ratification process as we should be among the first to resolve before joining the entry.

“Being the first six signatories brings many advantages to a country as that will set the tone in terms of regulations and negotiating guidelines among the pact.

“Many things can be discussed among the first signatories that any country could not afford to miss to participate,” he said.

The CPTPP was signed by all 11-member nations — Australia, Malaysia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — in Santiago, Chile, on March 8, 2018.

It was concluded on Jan 23, 2018, in Tokyo, Japan, after eight rounds of negotiations which started early 2017 at the ministers and senior officials level.