RCEP a proof of Malaysia, member countries resolve to strengthen regional integration, says Azmin

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — The recently concluded Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is a proof of Malaysia, together with Asean member countries and the five Asean Free-Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, resolve to continue strengthening regional economic integration, facilitating cross-border trade and investment, and reducing non-tariff barriers.

Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said the RCEP agreement was the largest FTA covering 2.2 billion or nearly one third (29.7 per cent) of the world’s population and contributed US$24.8 trillion or almost one third (28.9 per cent) of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) based on the World Bank’s data in 2018.

“The RCEP can accelerate the process of the regional economic recovery post Covid-19, as well that of our country, through market opening, increased investment, trade facilitation and industrial integration, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) into the regional value chain,” he said in a statement today.

Despite all the challenges and uncertainties of the global economy triggered by the spread of Covid-19, Mohamed Azmin said all the government’s efforts and careful planning to rebuild the country’s economy have paid off.

“Bank Negara Malaysia, in its report, stated that real GDP in the third quarter of 2020 recorded a contraction of 2.7 per cent.

“The contraction in the GDP rate, which was much smaller in the third quarter of this year compared to the second quarter of 2020, which was -17.1 per cent, reflects the growing economic activity,” he said.

He said the country’s economic recovery was the result of the government’s responsible action to implement four economic stimulus packages, namely PRIHATIN, PRIHATIN SME, PENJANA and Kita PRIHATIN worth RM305 billion.

The reopening of the economic sector and rising external demand have also helped revitalise business and investment activities.

“The Perikatan Nasional under the leadership of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin will continue to strive to champion the country so that Malaysia continues to develop as a progressive country in all aspects.

“We want to make 2021 a year that promises prosperity, peace and unity of the rakyat and the country,” he said. — Bernama

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