Malaysia became a signatory to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on March 8, 2018 and November 15, 2020 respectively. However, the country has yet to ratify both trade agreements.


The business community in Malaysia has expressed keen interest for the ratification of CPTPP and RCEP, where ASEAN-BAC Malaysia convened a panel of experts on 22 June 2021 to discuss the benefits that early ratification could bring to Malaysia and consider the ramifications should it miss the opportunity to do so.

In summary, they recommended that the country ratify the RCEP and CPTPP at the soonest to:

  1. Accelerate Malaysia’s post-pandemic recovery, particularly since these trade agreements will go a long way in stabilizing and expanding the manufacturing and supply chain sectors.
  2. Bolster Malaysia’s reputation as a competitive and pro-business economy; and
  3. Harmonize regulatory frameworks to ensure that highly regulated industries can also reap the benefits of these free trade agreements.

The event concluded with the presentation of a joint memorandum signed by 23 private sector bodies urging the government to ratify these trade agreements by the end of 2021 to allow the country to gain an early mover’s advantage in positioning itself as a gateway to nearly a third of the world’s population through the ASEAN, RCEP, and CPTPP markets.