MITI seeks to ratify CPTPP by year-end

As a signatory, Malaysia does not enjoy preferential tariff rates offered


THE Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) is planning to seek a mandate from the Cabinet on the ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) by year-end.

The ministry’s senior director of Strategic Negotiations Division Arividya Arimuthu said Malaysia’s legislation will need to be amended before the country can ratify the agreement and this has shown progress over the years.

“We are working with a much more manageable number now, certainly not (the initial) 19. A lot of things have happened and it is very interesting to note that some of those laws were amended not only because of our CPTPP obligations, but also as part of our own continuation process, our domestic reform,” she said in an online discussion hosted by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs yesterday.

She noted that a new mandate and policy decisions are required for Malaysia to complete its domestic process for the ratification.

After the Cabinet’s mandate is sought, this will be followed by the submission of Malaysia’s ratification instrument to the CPTPP depository.

The CPTPP will enter into force for Malaysia 60 days after the submission. She said the current administration has made it clear that Malaysia will continue with its trade and business-friendly policies and is open to mutually beneficial free trade agreements.

As part of the efforts to seek a mandate from the Cabinet for the ratification, the ministries need to present the costs and benefits of the CPTPP.

“My ambitious timeline is by year-end we could get the Cabinet directive on where we are heading on the CPTPP, but otherwise possibly the first quarter of next year.

“We are working closely with ministries and agencies, so they have a timeline in place as to when they intend to conclude the amendments to their laws. Most of my counterparts at other ministries have work plans in place,” she added.

As a signatory, Malaysia does not enjoy preferential tariff rates offered and is not allowed to block any consensus made parties in all CPTPP meetings.