KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 27): Malaysia has reiterated its strong commitment to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement by year-end, during the virtually-held 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits and Related Summits.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the RCEP will bring job creation which is direly needed to resuscitate and rejuvenate Malaysia’s economy and further strengthen Malaysia’s position as a global trading nation.
In a statement on the ASEAN leaders’ virtual meeting on Wednesday, he said the RCEP is important as it will further facilitate trade, services and investment within the region as well as boost market access opportunities.
The Malaysian delegation to the virtual meeting was led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, accompanied by Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Mohamed Azmin.
“It is imperative that we focus on the full implementation of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), including the early entry-into-force of the RCEP agreement by January 2022 to spur the economic recovery process in the region,” Mohamed Azmin said.
He added that during the meeting, the prime minister had commended the finalisation of the Bandar Seri Begawan Roadmap — one of the Priority Economic Deliverables that reflects ASEAN's latest commitment towards accelerating regional recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and becoming more resilient in facing future shocks by leveraging digital transformation.
Ismail Sabri had also emphasised the need for ASEAN to close the digital divide through regional cooperation to ensure an inclusive expansion of the digital economy.
Besides the ASEAN Summits, Mohamed Azmin said the leaders had also met and shared views with the leaders of five ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely, the Republic of Korea, China, the United States (US), Japan and Australia.
He said during the inaugural ASEAN-Australia Summit, Ismail Sabri had also underscored the need to equip the micro, small and medium enterprises, start-ups and underserved communities, including the youth, women and children, with the necessary skills and knowledge, ultimately boosting the supply chain and manufacturing productivity in the region.
“The summits will continue with other ASEAN Dialogue Partners, namely, India, Russia, as well as the ASEAN+3 Summit and the East Asia Summit that will take place virtually later today (Wednesday, Oct 27) and tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 28).
“The summits will focus on furthering the cooperation in multiple areas, with emphasis on expanding trade relations as the global strategy for economic recovery,” said Mohamed Azmin.