KUALA LUMPUR – The government has taken steps to amend relevant laws and regulations to comply with the obligations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Secretary general of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, Datuk Seri Hasnol Zam Zam Ahmad (picture) said that among the legislations that require amendments are related to intellectual property (IP) laws.
“It is important to note that these amendments are in line with the direction taken by the ministry and the Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia to ensure effective intellectual property protection in Malaysia.
“With strengthened IP laws, I believe it will boost the confidence of investors and facilitate trade with our partners. Acceding to international treaties such as the Madrid Protocol and Budapest Treaty will facilitate protection of IP for Malaysians as well,” he said at the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia Webinar 2021 today.
He stressed that the government is committed to ratify the RCEP in order for Malaysia to enjoy the benefits of this agreement.
On the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), he said the government is mindful of some of the concerns raised on issues such as government procurement, state owned enterprises, market access and the policy space for the government to implement measures and initiatives independently.
“Therefore, I believe the cost benefit study undertaken by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) would be able to lay out clearly the advantages and disadvantages of the agreement before a decision is made on the matter.
“A significant feature of both CPTPP and RCEP is the balanced and inclusive approach to the coverage, protection and enforcement of IP rights aimed at reducing IP-related barriers to trade,” he noted.
Hasnol said one of the advantages of RCEP and CPTPP is bridging e-commerce and digitalisation.
Hence, the government is committed to identifying and intensifying efforts in assisting the business entities to connect with the international digital trade market by eliminating trade barriers.
He said the government is also looking to revitalise and rejuvenate the local business ecosystem by putting in place several programmes targeted for the various segments such as digital advertisements and promotions for small and medium enterprises, introducing dedicated market places and strengthening legal infrastructure to protect consumers.
“In our efforts to jump-start the economy and begin the economic recovery process, while strengthening our domestic businesses with the necessary tools, with the ratification of RCEP, we may also have the opportunity to shift our focus to fresh markets abroad and explore promising opportunities.
“The benefits of free trade agreement such as lower tariffs and better access to foreign markets will be of assistance to businesses and must be utilised to pull ourselves out of this unfortunate situation,” he added.
He said these trade pacts will also facilitate the entry of quality investments to Malaysia and this would have positive impact on Malaysian efforts to economic recovery.
Think tanks have urged the government to expedite the ratification process of both RCEP and CPTPP for the benefit of Malaysians.
So far, four countries namely Singapore, Thailand, China and Japan have ratified the RCEP agreement.
Once ratified by six ASEAN countries and three non-ASEAN countries, the RCEP will enter into force in 60 days.