NEWS

PM: Malaysia willing to conclude RCEP without India

Bernama

Published

Malaysia is willing to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) without India “for the time being”.

Speaking at the CNBC’s interview with Tanvir Gill today, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said RCEP participants would have to consider which framework works best - China’s proposed 13-nation deal or the original one involving all 16 countries.

“I think we have to figure out which figure is the best, but I think I would prefer 13, for the time being,” he said, suggesting he’s open to having India, Australia and New Zealand joining the pact in the future.

RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between 10 Asean member countries and six Asia Pacific nations, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Mahathir is optimistic that the RCEP would be concluded. However, the countries have to take into consideration the abilities of each partner to benefit from whatever arrangement they enter into.

"I think we will work towards it. It is difficult because we are competing economies. All of us are in the same field and we are competing with one another and from there, to working together requires a radical mindset change. That would take time,” he said.

A 16-nation RCEP has a combined population of 3.4 billion with the gross domestic product (GDP) valued at US$49.5 trillion or 39 percent of the global GDP.

The free trade agreement was officially launched during the 2012 Asean Summit in Cambodia.

- Bernama

Share this story

By posting a comment, you agree to our Terms & Conditions as stipulated in full here

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Foul language, profanity, vulgarity, slanderous, personal attack, threatening, sexually-orientated comments or the use of any method of communication that may violate any law or create needless unpleasantness will not be tolerated. Antisocial behaviour such as "spamming" and "trolling" will be suspended. Violators run the risk of also being blocked permanently.

REPORT VIOLATORS

Please use the report feature that is available below each comment to flag offending comments for our moderators to take action. Do not take matters in your own hands to avoid unpleasant and unnecessary exchanges that may result in your own suspension or ban.