U.S. REMAINS KEY PARTNER
Malaysia still hopeful of TPP revival while working on other FTAs, says Mustapa
MALAYSIA continues to have its eyes on the prize as far as trade matters with the United States are concerned as the American economy is the biggest in the world.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said Malaysia was constantly engaged with US officials as the US was its third largest trading partner.
He was speaking after delivering the keynote speech at the one-day SME Export Day conference jointly organised by the ministry, Malaysia External Trade Development Corp (Matrade), and Panpages, here, yesterday.
“Last night, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Among the issues discussed was trade, and we believe that there will be constructive engagement between Malaysia and the US on economic matters,” he said when asked about the status of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
He said Malaysia remained hopeful of a revival of the US-led trade pact, but was also actively engaged in a myriad of other free trade agreements that were in the nation’s interest at the same time.
“(Efforts towards) the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is moving in parallel with the TPP.
“The TPP is still relevant and we are hopeful, as we have invested a lot of time and money on the negotiations and reaching an agreement.
“We are working closely with other TPP countries (following the US pulling out of the deal), and there will be a meeting hosted by Australia later this month on the way forward, as we have not given up,” Mustapa said.
On the China-backed RCEP, he said the grouping had met 19 times at the official level and seven times at the ministerial level, with another meeting scheduled in Manila in September.
He said he would give members of parliament an update on Malaysia’s RCEP efforts today.
On SME Export Day, Mustapa said it was being held in conjunction with Asean’s 50th anniversary on Tuesday.
“We have organised this event so that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who have successfully exported their products and services to other Asean countries can exchange ideas and experiences with SMEs just embarking on efforts to export their products and services,” he said.
Mustapa said the ministry would help SMEs leverage Malaysian diplomatic missions and trade offices in Asean to help them penetrate the market.
Last year, export contributions from SMEs to the nation reached 17.8 per cent. Mustapa said Malaysia has a target of taking this figure to 23 per cent by 2020.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed speaking to attendees at SME Export Day, which was hosted by his ministry yesterday.