Friday March 22, 2013
Malaysia likely to liberalise services sub-sectors early next year
KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is working on further liberalising the services sector sub-sectors and this is expected to be implemented early next year, said Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“Malaysia and the other Asean countries would be further liberalising the services sector under the ninth Package of Commitments involving 24 sub-sectors,” he said after launching the Asean Comprehensive Investment Agreement (ACIA) Guidebook for Businesses and ACIA Handbook for Investment Promotion Agencies yesterday.
Overall, Mustapa said Malaysia's implementation rate was commendable at 87.7%, with the full implementation of 300 measures out of 342 measures specified in the Asean Economic Community (AEC) blueprint.
“We have also completed on schedule the elimination of duties for intra-Asean trade and liberalised 96 services sub-sectors,” he added.
The 24 sub-sectors to be liberalised broadly cover transport, logistics, environmental services, healthcare and tourism.
International Trade and Industry Ministry senior director P. Ravidran explained that there were 24 services sub-sectors, each to be liberalised under the ninth and tenth Package of Commitments, respectively.
He said it was currently work in progress for the liberalisation of these sub-sectors and it would probably be endorsed by year-end.
Meanwhile, ACIA is an agreement that encompasses four aspects of investments liberalisation, facilitation, protection and promotion, with benefits now extended to Asean-based foreign investors.
Mustapa said the ACIA's introduction would complete the final piece of the countdown towards the targeted date of AEC's formation on Dec 31, 2015.
“Malaysia looks forward to assuming the Chair of Asean in 2015 and witness the historic moment of the creation of an Asean community (AEC).”
He said the formation of the AEC was not without challenges. “The AEC requires countries to realign domestic policies with regional commitments; some of which would require amendments and changes to existing domestic rules and regulations,” he noted.
Additionally, Mustapa said Asean countries had been growing steadily, increasing by almost 170% in the past 10 years. Asean gross domestic product growth was at 5.2% in 2012 and has been projected to grow between 5% and 6% annually from 2013 to 2017.
In 2011, Asean's global trade with the rest of the world reached US$2.4 trillion (RM7.49 trillion), while intra-Asean trade stood at US$598.2bil (RM1.87 trillion).