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CPTPP will come into effect for Malaysia on Nov 29, says Azmin

Azmin says that besides Malaysia, all other member countries of the CPTPP do not have a transition period for their earnings threshold value. (Photo by Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf/The Edge)

Azmin says that besides Malaysia, all other member countries of the CPTPP do not have a transition period for their earnings threshold value. (Photo by Mohd Suhaimi Mohamed Yusuf/The Edge)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 6): The ratified Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will come into effect for Malaysia on Nov 29, according to International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

The senior minister said in the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Oct 6) that all legal amendments related to the CPTPP have been completed. 

“I want to state here that some exceptions and also flexibility related to the rights of Bumiputera and local players under the CPTPP have been obtained,” he said. 

He added that besides Malaysia, all other member countries of the CPTPP do not have a transition period for their earnings threshold value.

“And this is the success we have achieved, may I report here, as the transition period for Malaysia for the service sector is nine years. For the goods sector, it's seven years, and for the construction sector, it's 20 years,” Azmin said. 

“Since the transition period is so long, the ministry has discussed with the Ministry of Finance to see what specific modules to prepare local players, especially Bumiputeras, to be ready to participate in the CPTPP.” 

He said that the ministries are also engaging with the Chamber of Commerce to work on the modules.

“The commitment of Malaysia related to this government procurement is limited to the federal level only. It does not involve the states. 

"The state level has already been excluded from the scope of government procurement, meaning that state governments can continue their existing procurement policy without any changes even though Malaysia has ratified and enforced the CPTPP,” he explained.

Azmin was replying to Bukit Bendera Member of Parliament Wong Hon Wai and Jempol MP Datuk Seri Mohd Salim Sharif, who had asked about the status and progress of the CPTPP. 

In regard to the progress for other free trade agreements (FTAs), Azmin said that negotiations on the Malaysia-European Union Free Trade Agreement (MEUFTA) may resume.

“Through a meeting with the EU in July, both parties have agreed to hold a stocktaking meeting in mid-October to determine the direction of the negotiations,” Azmin said. 

He said that the negotiations have been delayed since 2012, following the failure for both parties to reach an agreement on sensitive issues, such as government procurement, Bumiputera policy and intellectual property rights. 

In addition, he said Malaysia is also actively involved in negotiations to upgrade the existing regional FTAs for the Asean-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA), the Asean-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA), and the Asean Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA). 

“The upgrade of these agreements, among others, involves the improvement of certain chapters, including additional liberalisation for the goods and services sector, and the proposed introduction of new provisions related to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs),” he said. 

“It also involves trade and sustainable development, government procurement, digitisation and automation of customs procedures, as well as other initiatives related to green technology and the digital economy.”

He said the agreements being negotiated are expected to provide additional benefits to the business community, including MSMEs. 

The negotiations also aim to ensure that these agreements remain relevant and are able to address the challenges of an uncertain global economic environment, Azmin said. 

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