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Media Statement: Statement By YB Dato Sri’ Mustapa Mohamed, Minister Of International Trade And Industry At The APEC Meeting Of Trade Ministers (MRT) In Arequipa, Peru

1.Minister Mustapa Mohamed who is attending the 22nd meeting of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT), expressed his concern over the rising trend in protectionism and emphasized the need for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to monitor closely this trend. 

Minister Mustapa said this in response to the update by the Director General (DG) of the WTO on the progress since  the last WTO Ministerial Meeting in Nairobi in December 2015. The WTO DG highlighted the importance of building upon the momentum achieved in Nairobi to move the multilateral negotiations forward.

2. Minister Mustapa stressed that at a time when global growth  is sluggish, there is a tendency for some countries to be more inward looking. It is important to ensure that the benefits of a more open trading system are not negated by these measures.

3. He highlighted Malaysia’s commitment to implement the Information Technology Agreement expansion (ITA2) by July 2016, and urged other members to do the same. The global annual trade of ICT products amount to US$1.3 trillion. The tariff elimination on 201 high‐technology ICT products will benefit more than 600 Malaysian producers. Of the RM366 billion Malaysian exports of ICT products in the period of 2013-2015, about 94% went to ITA2 members.

4. During an informal discussion with top corporate leaders at the margins of the MRT, Minister Mustapa stressed the need for multi-national corporations (MNCs) to have more programmes to assist SMEs tap into the global value chains and access international markets. Globalization and liberalization efforts have been perceived to benefit MNCs more than SMEs. At the meeting, a number of MNCs shared programmes they have implemented to assist SMEs to be part of their global value chain. However, some of these initiatives are not known to the public and SMEs. Minister Mustapa urged these MNCs to highlight and promote their SME-assistance programmes to encourage more MNCs to implement similar programmes.

5. In conjunction with the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting, Peru convened a TPP Ministerial meeting. The main agenda was to review the progress of the respective domestic processes towards ratification of the agreement. In general, most TPP countries will be able to complete ratification by the end of the year.

6. “For Malaysia, we have started drafting some of the required amendments to comply with the TPP commitments. These will be presented to Parliament by the first half of 2017. By mid-2017, we expect to complete our domestic ratification procedures,” said Dato’ Sri Mustapa.

7. The Ministers stressed the importance of bringing the TPPA into force as early as possible to reap the benefits of market liberalization, create jobs and new economic opportunities, as well as enhance competitiveness.

8. TPP Ministers further agreed on a mechanism for implementation and administration of the TPP Agreement which would include the designation of a rotating TPP Chair and appointment of chief representatives of each country to deal with ongoing administration and any issues that may arise. Most of the work and communications will be done electronically. The Ministers also agreed to establish a virtual library for all TPP documentation. New Zealand will continue to serve as the depository.

9. As SMEs continue to be apprehensive about the TPP, all the TPP ministers with Minister Mustapa proposal for TPP countries to share the various initiatives they have put in place to get better buy-in from SMEs.

Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
Arequipa, 17 May 2016

Last Updated 2016-05-24 15:58:04 by Fauziah Osman

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