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Alternative options available, despite TPP collapse, says Deputy Finance Minister

ALOR STAR: Malaysia will have to look into other trading options after US President Donald Trump signed the Executive Order to withdraw the US from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Othman Aziz said Malaysia should be able to secure new trading partners since the country has close relationships with many other countries, including China.

He pointed out that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) could be a good alternative to mitigate lost opportunities from TPP.

“We are leaving it to the International Trade and Industry Ministry to work on the best alternative for TPP,” he said in a press conference after delivering his New Year address as the Muda Agriculture Development Agency (Mada) chairman today.

Admitting that the failure of TPP is a lost to the country as it offered direct access to about 40 per cent of the global consumer market, Othman stressed that there are other trading options that the government could explore.

On Monday, Trump who has been a fierce critic to the pact throughout his presidential election campaign, signed the Executive Order to withdraw the US from the TPP agreement, initiated by his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump had labelled the deal as a “potential disaster” to the American economy.

The TPPA was signed by the 12 countries in the grouping in Auckland on Feb 4 last year. The agreement required participation of the US as it accounts for about 60 per cent of the combined GDP of the 12 members.

Under the agreement, a minimum of six countries accounting for 85 per cent of the combined GDP of the 12 members must ratify before the TPP can enter into force.

-New Straits Times

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