Mustapa: Malaysia Looking At Alternatives If TPP Does Not Materialise

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HANOI, Dec 8 – Malaysia is looking at alternatives to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if the mega trade pact does not materialise. Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said among the options the country was looking at included engaging with countries it has no trade agreements through bilateral trade pacts or to pursue the TPP without the US. 

“Some countries have talked about it openly (to pursue TPP). The other option is bilateral. Mexico is a big and important country. For example, Petroliam Nasional Bhd has just got two oil exploration blocks off the Gulf of Mexico. A few Malaysian companies are already in Mexico and Canada,” said Mustapa.

“That is certainly an option that we are looking at as we are pro-free trade agreements (FTAs) and we have one with Turkey which is doing well. We are open to having bilateral pacts with those countries which we do not have FTAs yet,” he told reporters after chairing Malaysia-Vietnam Business Roundtable Meeting here today. 

Also present were Malaysian Ambassador to Vietnam, Mohd Zamruni Khalid; Asean Business Advisory Council Chairman, Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid; CIMB Group Holdings Bhd Group Chief Executive Officer, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz; and, CIMB Group Chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

Asian countries face significant risks if US president-elect Donald Trump imposes trade barriers and opposes the TPP, the 12-nation preferential trade agreement that covers about 40% of the global economy. On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Mustapa said, the participating countries were committed to conclude the talks by end-2017.

He said they have lined up a few meetings at the official and the ministerial levels. He also said that they have been extending the timeline a few times but we are working hard to make sure that the talks would be completed by then. At the roundtable business meeting, Mustapa also launched the ministry’s Hanoi office, its fourth office in South-East Asia, after Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore. 

Mustapa would also lead the delegation to make a courtesy call on Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang and meet Deputy Minister of Investment and Planning, Dang Huy Dong, to discuss ways to further enhance economic relations between both countries. — Bernama

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