Monday, July 4, 2022

Malaysia calls for trade openness, says curbs during food crisis should be temporary

International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali says any emergency measures should be targeted and proportionate.

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Malaysia yesterday called for trade openness, saying any curbs on trade to address national food security concerns should be temporary and proportionate.

Speaking at the 12th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, International Trade and Industry Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said members of the body should make “concrete progress” towards a fair and market-oriented agricultural trading system.

He added that any emergency measures to tackle food security concerns in countries should be “temporary, targeted, proportionate and not trade distorting”.

“Disguising protectionism as national security concerns must be avoided at all costs,” he said.

Reaffirming Malaysia’s support for a rules-based multilateral trading system, he said such cooperation was key to overcoming global challenges and the rise of protectionism.

“With Covid-19 still hovering over the world, a protectionist global trade environment is detrimental to the prosperity of the world economy, especially to developing countries, what more the least developed countries,” he said.

Azmin likewise voiced support for the ministerial declaration on the WTO response to the Covid-19 pandemic and preparedness for future pandemics, saying members should come together to lift restrictions and limits in the implementation of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPs.

He said trade facilitative measures were also needed to ensure the equitable and swift distribution of vaccines and therapeutics.

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