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UK sees Malaysia as possible gateway to Asia-Pacific trade

FMT Reporters Free Malaysia Today February 11, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Britain, which is promoting itself as a willing trade partner for the Asia-Pacific region after Brexit, is seeking close alignment with Malaysia, which is considering ratifying an 11-member Pacific trade pact.

Malaysia is the final stop in a four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who described the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), representing more than 13% of global gross domestic product, as a “priority” for Britain, Reuters reported.

Britain has launched an aggressive campaign to set up new trade partnerships, pushing the tagline “Global Britain is open for business”, after it formally quit the European Union at the end of January.

Malaysia is a member of the CPTPP but has pushed back on ratification on concerns that certain clauses may force significant changes to existing laws and policies and may not favour the country.

The CPTPP, which came into effect at the end of 2018, has been ratified by seven of the nations involved – Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam.

Raab said Britain would want to be “as closely aligned with Malaysia as possible” as it seeks access to the CPTPP, Reuters reported.

“But we’re waiting to see, of course, what they decide to do on ratification. But CPTPP, in this area, is certainly a priority for us,” he said.

Previously known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal when the United States was part of the negotiations, the aim of the CPTPP is to bring down trade barriers by slashing tariffs across a significant part of the Asia-Pacific.

The US pulled out of the deal in 2017. The following year, US President Donald Trump said he would consider rejoining the pact if the terms were more favourable to his country.

From: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY (MALAYSIA) February 11, 2020

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