Malaysia to benefit more with China in CPTPP

The market access that we will enjoy with China’s inclusion would be more comprehensive and beneficial compared to the Asean-China FTA

pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA will greatly benefit from the inclusion of China in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for TransPacific (CPTPP) compared to the agreement both countries signed under Asean-China Free Trade Area (FTA).

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (picture) said China must provide thorough market access offers which are of high quality and align with CPTPP standards.

“The market access that we will enjoy with China’s inclusion in the CPTPP would be more comprehensive and beneficial compared to the Asean-China FTA.

“For example, under the rules of origins, each product that originates from CPTPP countries will get preferential duty.

“China’s involvement in the agreement will enable Malaysian suppliers to use raw materials from China for the end-products that are also qualified to receive preferential duty,” he said during the Minister’s Question Time (MQT) in Dewan Rakyat yesterday in a response to Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing’s query.

He said China is expected to have accession negotiations with other CPTPP members early next year.

China had formally applied to join the Trans-Pacific Agreement last week, the second country to request membership after the UK earlier this year.

In February, the UK became the first country outside the Asia Pacific to formally request accession into the agreement.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) is planning to seek a mandate from the Cabinet on the ratification of the agreement by year-end.

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

Mohamed Azmin added that Malaysia is also committed to ratifying the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by mid-December.

The ratification process requires amendments on three acts under the jurisdiction of the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) relating to intellectual property rights, patent, copyright and trademark.

“KPDNHEP had informed MITI that drafts for the said amendments are being refined by the Attorney General Chamber and it will be tabled for debate in Parliament in December,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Religious Affairs) Ahmad Marzuk Shaary said the cost for haj is expected to increase next year due to inflation rate and the development of new rules by Saudi Arabia based on the standard operating procedures following the pandemic.

The additional cost will be for Covid-19 tests, vaccination, transportation that requires physical distance, accommodation and tents for pilgrims.

“Lembaga Tabung Haji will announce the cost for next year once it is confirmed,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday during MQT.

Tabung Haji is also reviewing the costs affected by the new taxes implemented by the Saudi government which includes value-added tax that was increased to 15% from 5% in July last year.

He said for the 2022 haj season, Tabung Haji has begun its preparations for the upcoming season upon completion of this year’s season.

Priorities for the next season will be given to pilgrims that were supposed to perform their haj last year.

“For those who were scheduled to perform their haj this year, they will be allowed to do so next year, subject to the vacancy in the year’s quota,” he added.