DPM Fadillah: CPTPP a new phase in Malaysia-UK bilateral relations
02 Jun 2023
The United Kingdom’s (UK) accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) expected in a few months will set the stage for a new phase in Malaysia and United Kingdom bilateral relations, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said.
The UK has joined the 11-member CPTPP trade bloc after two years of negotiations.
“This is an opportunity to open the doors for better growth and access to new markets.”
“We are looking at the UK having a trade deal with Malaysia for the first time, reducing the red tape as businesses enjoy operating on a par with local firms and cutting off tariffs on goods exports, providing businesses with much greater access to new markets,” he said at the UK-Malaysia High Level Dinner here yesterday.
It was reported that the trade pact offers British consumers and businesses access to one of the largest free trade areas by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at about US$13.5 trillion (RM61.9 trillion) and a market of 500 million people.
Also present were British Minister of State in the Department for Business and Trade Lord Dominic Johnson, Malaysian High Commissioner Datuk Zakri Jaafar, Members of the House of Lords and Members of Parliament.
Fadillah, who is also the Minister of Plantations and Commodities, said it is to the great credit of UK Ministers and their negotiating team that they committed to CPTPP with an open and ambitious spirit.
He said that among the key negotiating points was an agreement to reduce import tariffs on exports of Malaysian palm oil.
“The tariff reductions on palm oil are a standard element for CPTPP countries — and I can assure you that the UK has secured significant market access provisions in return.”
It is to be noted that the UK is the first and only European nation to have the vision and commitment to join the CPTPP — the world’s largest-ever free trade agreement.
“That is a bold statement about your commitment to the Indo-Pacific: the region that will define global security and economic competition in the 21st century,” Fadillah stressed.
The deputy prime minister said that besides increasing trade, CPTPP drives forward a broader policy agenda, namely addressing climate change in a practical, realistic manner and reducing poverty and eliminating hunger and managing unprecedented technological advances and addressing shared challenges on security.
“The UK adds significant weight to this ambitious agenda, and we look forward to working with you to achieve these objectives,” he added.
Bilateral trade between Malaysia and the UK reached over US$7.3 billion in 2022, with the UK recording a trade surplus of some US$786 million.
For 2023, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board anticipates palm oil exports to increase by 3.7 per cent to 16.3 million tonnes.