Moody's: Malaysia biggest victor in TPP agreement

Larry Hoffman
March 10, 2018

Eleven foreign ministers will sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) tomorrow set to slash tariffs among member nations by 2019.

The agreement was on shaky ground past year when US President Donald Trump pulled his country from negotiations for what was then known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Compared to the original deal, lost trade opportunities will be felt most in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Japan, because these countries stood to gain the most from greater access to the USA market given the scope of current trade agreements, the ratings agency said.

The signatories at the event included Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries have signed a sweeping free trade agreement to streamline trade and slash tariffs. It opens Japan's highly protected agricultural market to shipments of beef and pork from Australia and Canada.

Toshimitsu Motegi, Japan's minister in charge of the TPP, told a news conference he wants the United States to rejoin the pact in its current form without revamping it.

"Now is the time for both firms and government to focus on implementing today's agreement to achieve its full potential, it's encouraging that many businesses are already expecting to see benefits".

Singapore, for example, will now gain preferential market access to Canada and Mexico, with which it has no free trade agreement.

In January 2017, Trump withdrew the United States from TPP discussions before it became law, arguing that it was an unfair deal for the country.

"This is a fair deal for New Zealand", says Mr Parker.

"As it stands, the deal's worth to New Zealand is a rise of between $1.2 and $4 billion in GDP".

"The Australian Government has shown strong leadership in continuing to peruse TPP-11 after the United States withdrew, and there will be great benefits for Australian wine producers as a result", Battaglene said.

In addition to market access, Malaysia will also benefit in terms of enhancing governance in a number of economic sectors, strengthening economic cooperation among member countries and promoting adoption of worldwide standards.

AUSTRALIA'S signing overnight of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will deliver benefits through improving its access to markets including Japan and Mexico, according to national grain producers' representative body, GrainGrowers.

Separately, Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed listed access to those three new markets as among the incentives to seal the deal, noting that Malaysia now has no preferential trading arrangements with them.

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