World's largest trade deal comes into effect in Malaysia

World's largest trade deal comes into effect in Malaysia

Photo taken on Aug. 8, 2020 shows a night view of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Chong Voon Chung/Xinhua/IANS)

Kuala Lumpur, March 18 (IANS) The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest trade deal, came into effect in Malaysia from Friday, the country's Trade Ministry said in a statement. Malaysia is expected to be the largest beneficiary among the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) members from the RCEP in terms of export gains, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry as saying. The country is expected to see a $200 million increase in export gains, making the RCEP a vital tool in recovering from the economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it said. "Representing a significant milestone in the vibrant growth and revitalisation of economies, anchored on the rules-based multilateral trading system, RCEP enables Malaysia to enjoy the global trade and investment ecosystem, benefiting from the eventual elimination of around 90 percent of tariff among members. "Other advantages to be gained include further liberalization of trade encompassing removal of non-tariff barriers, increased trade facilitation, removal of barriers to the services sector as well as enhancement of business environment through regulations relating to intellectual property protection, government procurement practices and e-commerce," the Ministry added. It also said that beyond improving the ways of doing business, RCEP would spark the creation of new regional supply chains apart from strengthening existing networks, boosting the growth of domestic businesses as they immerse into the global trading ecosystem. "Business communities, from large to small scale entrepreneurs, are encouraged to take advantage of the vast investment opportunities and greater participation in regional and global value chains presented by this mega-trade agreement," it said. The mega free trade agreement has been applauded by the Asia-Pacific region as an important step toward deeper regional integration and a renewed worldwide momentum for free trade and multi-lateralism at a time of multiple global uncertainties. Signed in November 2020, the RCEP groups the 10 members of the ASEAN, as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, covering roughly 30 per cent of the world's gross domestic product and population.

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