KUALA LUMPUR – Bilateral trade between Malaysia and China will not be affected by Malaysia’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia’s involvement in the negotiations was never brought up by his counterpart from China.
“The TPP is not an issue for China as it is a big country, and as an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member, always has the chance to join the free trade agreement as it is open to all,” he added.
He said this during a question and answer session at the briefing on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), TPPA and the Budget 2016, here today.
Malaysia is a major trading partner of China among the 10 ASEAN member states.
In a statement yesterday, Mustapa said Malaysia’s policy is to establish good relations with all countries and as an ASEAN nation, had also benefitted from the regional groupings Free Trade Agreement with China which had been in place for almost 10 years.
Duties on about 90 per cent of products traded between ASEAN and China have been eliminated.
“In addition to the FTA, Malaysia and other ASEAN countries are in negotiations in the Comprehensive Regional Economic Agreement involving 16 countries, including China,” Mustapa said.
He said Malaysia had been a strong supporter of the “One Belt, One Road” economic initiatives spearheaded by China.
Commenting on the perception of the TPP as a new form of “colonialism”, he said every country involved in the agreement process had its own focus.
“The TPP will provide an opportunity to enter four new markets without import duties imposed on Malaysian products.
“We want access into new markets and concerns of the TPPA as a form of recolonisation is inaccurate.
“Until the second quarter of this year, Malaysian investments abroad totalled RM522 billion, exceeding foreign investments in the country at RM477 billion,” he said.
On concerns that the entry of imported goods would have an impact on local products, Mustapa said local agricultural products for one, will continue to be protected under agricultural policies.
“This was discussed during the TPP negotiations and agriculture-related policies will continue. Even small and medium enterprises will benefit when import duties on raw materials are reduced,” he said. – BERNAMA