Bernama | 20.8.2013
RCEP Is Not A Bloc To Compete With TPP, Says Mustapa
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 (Bernama) — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is not a bloc to compete with the ongoing negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said today.
"In fact, four Asean members, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam are in both TPP and RCEP negotiations," he said in a statement after the inaugural meeting of the 16 Ministers of the RCEP participating countries held in Brunei Darussalam yesterday.
The meeting was attended by the Economic Ministers from Asean, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Next year, the Asean Economic Community would be realised and the RCEP, which strengthens linkages with major trading nations in Asia, would further boost Asean’s global competitiveness, Mustapa said.
"Along with the existing free trade agreements (FTAs) with China, South Korea, Japan, India and Australia and New Zealand, the RCEP is the next step forward to deepen regional integration and mutual benefits," he said.
The minister said Malaysia would continue to engage all stakeholders throughout the negotiations process of the RCEP.
Malaysia, as a member of the Asean Plus 1 FTAs, is already implementing the various commitments through liberalisation of import tariffs, services and investments.
Malaysia’s trade with these countries last year accounted for 55.5 per cent of the nation’s external trade totalling RM726.7 billion.