KUALA LUMPUR: Forty-three World Trade Organisation (WTO) members who participated in a question and answer session at the recent two-day 7th Trade Policy Review (TPR) Of Malaysia, in Switzerland, commended the country for its impressive economic achievement, prudent trade and economic policies. Malaysia was also commended for actively pursuing trade openness through unilateral reforms, regional and bilateral trade arrangements and multilateral rule-making. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in a statement here today, said the four-yearly exercise on Feb 14-16 saw the participation of an inter-Ministerial team led by its Secretary-General, Datuk Seri J. Jayasiri.
The TPR is an exercise mandated by the WTO Agreement to ensure transparency of trade policies and measures. All 164 WTO members have to undergo the TPR process and the frequency of each country’s review varies according to its share of world trade. Malaysia’s 7th TPR was undertaken for the review period of 2014 to 2017 and chaired by Ambassador Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Colombia’s Permanent Representative to the WTO. Peru’s Permanent Representative to the WTO served as the discussant. According to MITI, the members also recognised that Malaysia’s successful diversification ofits economy and economic reforms had contributed to continued growth despite externalchallenges.
The bold move to rationalise subsidies on fuel and sugar among others, indicates Malaysia’s willingness to move towards a market-oriented mechanism. Business friendly initiatives such as an improvement to the Companies Act, was also welcomed, as itled to a reduction in the cost of doing business,” said MITI. The 7th TPR saw Malaysia receiving 476 written questions from 27 members, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, the European Union, Japan, Singapore, Ukraine and the United States.
The questions covered a wide range of subjects, including Malaysia’s Intellectual Property Rights and competition policy, foreign investment regime, import licencing procedures, import tariff structure, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, services sector, in particular for finance and energy sub-sectors, and e-commerce. Malaysia shared with the WTO members the economic development and reforms that had taken place throughout the period under review.
The participation of 43 WTO members in the question and answer process was a record number for Malaysia, from the first TPR in 1993. While members noted the commendable efforts by Malaysia, MITI said improvements were also suggested on an array of issues, such as the need for compliance with the Customs Valuation Agreement, timely notification of the country’s various agricultural support programmes, as well as the import licencing regime.