Next RCEP meeting will be crucial, says Mustapa

13 Feb 2018 / 20:38 H.

    KUALA LUMPUR: The next Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) meeting, which will be held at the ministerial level on March 2, will be a crucial one to discuss the progress of the trade deal.
    International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said today he is confident the meeting, to be held in Singapore, will serve as a platform to bridge the gap between Asean and other countries.
    “We are confident that with the commitment from all parties, we can reduce the gap between Asean members and other countries,” he told reporters at the launch of SME Bank Y-Biz Challenge 2018 and MySMEBank Online Application system.
    Mustapa said Malaysia still hopes for the proposed trade deal to be sealed this year.
    It was reported the Philippines has demanded its RCEP fellow negotiating countries to work towards a speedy conclusion of the agreement.
    It said there were complications coming from Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
    Meanwhile, the 21st round RCEP meeting was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from Feb 2 to 9. It was attended by the RCEP’s 16 negotiating member countries. At this round the discussions included topics such as trade of goods and services, investments, issues regarding legalities and institutions, as well as the rules of origin.
    RCEP is free trade agreement between Asean’s 10-member states and six other countries, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Once sealed, the RCEP will become the largest trade bloc in the world that could boost economic growth of its members.
    Also at the launch, Mustapa told reports that the government is concerned about the challenges faced by Proton Holdings Bhd’s dealers and vendors.
    “The ministry is currently gathering information and I plan to meet them soon for discussions,” he said in response to a question whether a special incentive would be provided to help Proton dealers upgrade their businesses.
    On Monday, Proton encouraged its dealers to upgrade their sales-only centres to integrate sales, service and spare parts to, among others, improve the dealership network and increase customer satisfaction. – Bernama

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