Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Mahathir calls for CPTPP trade agreement’s revision

Reuters, KUALA LUMPUR

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad called for a review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), saying that smaller economies, such as Malaysia, are at a disadvantage under the current terms.

The trade pact — which includes Japan and Canada — should take into consideration the level of development of various countries, Mahathir said in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review published yesterday.

PROTECTION

“Small, weaker economies must be given a chance to protect their products,” Mahathir said. “We have to review” the pact.

Mahathir’s call to review the agreement would be a blow for the 11-member trade pact, which was earlier this year finalized after tough negotiations following the US’ withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The CPTPP is to reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the world economy with a total GDP of U$10 trillion. With the US, it would have represented 40 percent.

QUESTIONS

Mahathir did not reject the significance of agreements such as the partnership and he did not say whether he would consider leaving the trade pact altogether, the Asian Review said.

The 92-year-old last month took over as Malaysia’s prime minister after a stunning election victory over former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, promising to stamp out corruption and lower living costs.

He has immediately embarked on reviews of several projects and agreements signed by the Najib government. The premier has pulled out of a high speed rail project with Singapore and is reviewing a US$14 billion local railway line to be built by Chinese companies.

Mahathir’s government “must review all agreements” entered into by the previous administration, including infrastructure, trade and security pacts, he said, adding that it would also review the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea, which is being negotiated between Beijing and ASEAN.

Malaysia does not want the presence of warships in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca, Mahathir said.

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