The United Kingdom (UK) today officially joined Malaysia and 11 other founding countries in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), marking the first free trade agreement (FTA) between Malaysia and the UK.
Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz represented Malaysia at the Accession Protocol signing ceremony that took place in Auckland, New Zealand during the seventh CPTPP Ministerial Commission Meeting.
In a statement, he said Malaysia look forward to the eventual benefits for the country’s exporters and businesses as upon entry into force, Malaysian exports would immediately enjoy preferential duty-free treatment on 94 per cent of tariff lines, including exports of particular significance, notably palm oil, cocoa, rubber, electrical and electronics and chemicals.
“The signing of the UK Accession Protocol is also timely as it sends a strong signal to the world on the advantages of the CPTPP membership including the parties’ commitment towards an open, rules-based and liberal multilateral trading system.
“The UK’s participation into the CPTPP also demonstrates the true demand for and value of this gold-standard agreement,” he said.
In addition to the historic ceremony, Malaysia also joined the rest of the CPTPP parties in celebrating the entry into force of the agreement for Chile on Feb 21, 2023 and Brunei Darussalam on July 12, 2023.
During the meeting, Tengku Zafrul said he reaffirmed Malaysia’s continued validation of the high standards of the CPTPP and underscored the importance of the review in supporting maximum utilisation of the agreement and its uptake, particularly by Malaysian businesses and people.
The minister said this included promoting stronger integration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into the global supply chain.
He said the ministers also discussed opportunities to further explore and deepen the agreement in areas such as the digital economy and green economy, taking into consideration the global developments in these areas.
“The ministers iterated their support for the expansion of the CPTPP to economies committed to the agreement’s objectives and full compliance of its high standard rules and comprehensive market access commitments.
“Other matters discussed include the current progress of the implementation and cooperation between parties under the CPTPP as well as the way forward with regards to the aspirant economies accession process,” he added.
Malaysia finalised the CPTPP deal in September last year, the ninth of the 11th countries to have ratified the agreement.
The agreement, originally called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, was signed in 2018.
Signatories included Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.