KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia stands to gain an increase of more than RM40bil in export revenue if it ratifies the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by year end, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
"Based on a study by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), the nation will see export revenue increase by RM44bil a year if the RCEP is ratified by the end of this year.
"Apart from this, local industries will also benefit from wider market access and tariff concessions," the International Trade and Industry Minister said when replying a supplementary question raised by Datuk Seri Azizah Mohd Dun (PN-Beaufort) in Dewan Rakyat on Thursday (Nov 25).
Azizah wanted to know what the losses would be for the nation if it failed to ratify RCEP on time.
Azmin said that it is imperative that Malaysia ratifies RCEP, as it would be a catalyst for economic recovery in Iight of adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy.
"During the recent Asean Summit about two weeks ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who represented the country, gave a commitment to Asean that we will ratify RCEP by the end of December," he added.
Azmin noted that RCEP will come into force 60 days after Jan 1 next year, after at least six Asean members and three friends of the Asean free trade zone, submit their ratification instruments to the Asean secretariat.
As of Nov 2, he said that 10 nations namely Singapore, China, Japan, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand and Australia, have ratified the RCEP.
Asked by Wong Hon Wai (PH-Bukit Bendera) if there was sufficient time to amend the necessary laws to allow Malaysia to ratify the RCEP on time, Azmin said the matter is currently being finalised by the Attorney General's Chambers.
"It will then be brought to the House for approval by the end of this year before the government submits the ratification instrument to the Asean secretariat," he added.
Wong lamented the country's slow progress in ratifying RCEP when several Asean nations had already done so.
The current Dewan Rakyat meeting is scheduled to end this Dec 16, but there is a proposal to extend it further by two days.