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Malaysian minister says RCEP strengthens multilateralism, promotes equitable trade

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) — A Malaysian official says the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, inked on Sunday, will strengthen multilateralism and promote equitable trade.

Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Mohamed Azmin Ali, who signed the agreement on behalf of Malaysia, said RCEP represents a significant and imperative milestone in the integration and revitalization of economies of the 15 parties of the agreement.

“In addition, RCEP will promote, facilitate and protect the investment climate of participating countries within the region. This also includes information exchange and promotion of transparency measures to facilitate business and investment within the RCEP area,” he said in a statement.

Azmin explained the benefits would also be felt at the local level through tariff elimination and reduction for merchandise goods, including the facilitation of export and import of goods among the participating countries.

It will also benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which he said play a pivotal role as the backbone of participating economies.

“There is a specific chapter on SMEs providing provisions for information exchange and promotion of transparency measures to facilitate business and investment within the region including providing economic and technical cooperation especially to SMEs,” he said.

Azmin also said the agreement can be an economic recovery tool against COVID-19 which will help to ensure opening of markets as well as uninterrupted supply chain.

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