KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association (MPMA) call on the government to expeditiously ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to enable the plastics industry in Malaysia to reap the benefits of the agreement.

President Datuk Lim Kok Boon said MPMA fully supports the ratification of the CPTPP as manufacturers of plastic products are expected to gain from the elimination of tariffs as well as gain new market access.

“I anticipate that CPTPP will open market access to Canada, Mexico and Peru for plastics exporters. All three countries are net importers of plastic products.

“The tariff for plastic products will be eliminated immediately from a maximum of 6.5% for Canada upon Malaysia’s ratification, while the 15% tariff for Mexico and 9% tariff for Peru will be reduced gradually over a period of 10 years,” he said in a statement on Aug 9.

He said demand for plastic finished products including halal-certified plastic products is expected to increase in the coming years driven by greater demand for food and beverages packaging. There are also growing applications in the construction sector.

“Elimination of tariffs for plastic raw materials under the CPTPP is expected to reduce the cost of these materials, which would alleviate cost pressure faced by the plastics manufacturers in recent years due to increases in energy and labour costs,” he said.

Lim said that traditionally, the European Union, Japan, Australia and Singapore are Malaysia’s main export destinations, and the elimination of import tariffs and non-tariff barriers will increase the price competitiveness of the country’s export of plastic products.

“It would also open up greater export opportunities to CPTPP countries, including new market access to Canada and Mexico,” he added.

Consequently, it is critical that the plastics industry in Malaysia stay ahead of the curve given the rapid pace of technological advancement, and in this regard, it is imperative that the plastics industry has access to the latest in technology and innovation, he said.

The CPTPP has established an institutional mechanism for technology and innovation-related cooperation and capacity-building activities that would facilitate plastics companies in Malaysia to pursue collaboration in the field of technology and innovation as well as to increase the level of automation of their operations in line with Industry4WRD and Industry 4.0.

“This will enable these companies to achieve consistent quality in their output, increase efficiency and lower reliance on labour, particularly low skilled foreign labour,” he said. - Bernama