IPOH - Malaysia will ensure that its best interests are protected should it ink the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), said Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong.
"There will be certain things that we will let go but on a broader aspect, it will benefit the country.
"Discussions are still ongoing. We have yet to sign anything," he told reporters after launching a photo exhibition held in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of Malaysia-China relations here yesterday.
Also present was China's Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang.
Malaysia, said Lee, was still discussing the matter with 11 other countries including the United States and Canada.
"We have embarked on this initiative since 2010 after realising the vast benefits that Malaysia may gain," he said, adding that the country would have the potential to tap into a tariff-free market of 800 million people with a combined Gross Domestic Product of US$28 trillion (RM88.2 trillion).
"Malaysian producers and service providers can potentially have access to all TPPA member countries.
"We also stand to enjoy higher foreign investment, being positioned as a top investment destination for foreign investors," he said.
A duty-free market, said Lee, would also translate into cost savings for local businesses exporting to other TPPA countries, adding that currently, these products were imposed duties of between 3 per cent and 47.6 per cent.
However, the Government, he said, was aware of the challenges rising from the adverse impact of freeing trade and economy.
"We are carefully considering how TPPA may impact the country. Government negotiators are mitigating the possibilities through various flexibilities such as carve-outs, longer transition period and exclusions," he said.