Vietnam still triumphs thanks to its cheaper labour costs and advantages in some sectors. (Source: VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - Malaysian companies will be at a huge disadvantage and lose out to Vietnam in terms of trade investment inflow if the country chooses not to participate in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), said a local official.

The Asian Trade Centre (ATC) Executive Director Deborah K Elms said the CPTPP is especially beneficial for small- and medium-sized enterprises, adding that the pact allows for a seamless flow of goods, services, and investment among member countries, as well as protection of intellectual property.

Vietnam still triumphs thanks to its cheaper labour costs and advantages in some sectors, she said.

However in a lot of aspects, Malaysia comes out on top. For example, Malaysia has a more educated population, with better skills in many sectors, and its infrastructure and port systems are better, she noted.  

On July 11, Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry Ignatius Darell Leiking said the Malaysian Government’s stand on the CPTPP will soon be finalised by the Cabinet.

Ignatius said Malaysia has not opted out from the pact but that the new government would need some time to ensure that it would benefit the nation, emphasising that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had been looking into the matter.

During a meeting also on July 11 between Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Malaysian counterpart Saifudddin Abdullah, Taro affirmed that the head of the Japanese delegation for the CPTPP will soon come to Malaysia to explain the agreement to the Malaysian Government.

The original Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) was signed by 12 countries in February 2016 but US President Donald Trump pulled his country from the deal upon his inauguration in January 2017. 

The remaining 11 countries – namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam – signed the pact and renamed it the CPTPP in March 2018 in Chile.

The pact is expected to boost economic growth, create more jobs, reduce poverty, and improve the quality of life for people in the member countries. It delivers a strong message against the rise in global protectionism.

The deal will create one of the world’s largest free trade blocs with a combined market of 499 million people and GDP of around 10.1 trillion USD, accounting for 13.5 percent of the global GDP.-VNA