Minister says report of US rejoining CPTPP a speculation

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (centre) said the report on the US rejoining the CPTPP is based on speculation. — Reuters pic
Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (centre) said the report on the US rejoining the CPTPP is based on speculation. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 7 — The report on the US rejoining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is based on speculation, said Minister of International Trade and Industry, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“It is pure speculation at this point of time, although there are some countries with the view that one fine day, the US will join the CPTPP. But at this point of time, it is far-fetched,” he told reporters at the announcement of Malaysian trade performance 2017 here today.

He said CPTPP was concluded in Tokyo and the agreement was expected to be signed in March this year in Chile.

“Even with the US out of the picture, the CPTPP is still beneficial to Malaysia, as there is still an open market in ten other countries,” he said.

After pulling the US out of the massive strategic trade deal and denouncing the agreement, US President Donald Trump told the World Economic Forum in Davos last month that America could be interested in rejoining if it got substantially better deals.

Mustapa said it was a bit unrealistic to expect the country to rejoin the trade deal as in its current form, the CPTPP was not favourable to the current US government.

“On behalf of Malaysia, we have gone very far and have gone to the maximum and we are in no position to make further concessions,” he said.

He said Malaysia would continue to have close ties with big countries like the US, China and other regional countries.

Mustapa said there was an ongoing discussion on trade surplus issues under the Trade Investment Facilitation Agreement, an umbrella under which the economic relations were being addressed. — Bernama

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