'Malaysia to focus on trade with Asean, Asian countries'

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Malaysia will step up trade with ASEAN countries and Asian countries with the official withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on Jan 23.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said Asean member states would the main focus of Malaysia's trade, followed North-East Asian countries like China, South Korea, Japan and India, which were also important.

"So far, China is still our largest trading partner. This is not new as we have always worked together with China," he told reporters after visiting and presenting contributions to the Chinese community in Jalan Merican in Kota Baru today in
conjunction with the Chinese New Year.

US President Donald Trump started his first day in office on Jan 23 by signing an executive order to pull out of the trade deal, reaffirming his administration's protectionist policy.

The TPPA, which was signed by Malaysia and 11 other countries, including the US, on Feb 4, 2016, could not be implemented without the participation of the US, which made up 60 percent of the TPPA's combined gross domestic product (GDP).

In order to ratify the deal, at least six countries, comprising 85 percent of the pact’s overall GDP had to approve it.

Besides Malaysia and the US, the other TPPA signatories were Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore, Mexico, Peru, and Vietnam.

- Bernama



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