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Malaysia’s upgrade on US trafficking list gives better access to international markets, says FMM

FMM In The News: THE EDGE, KUALA LUMPUR, June 20, 2023 - Malaysia’s upgrade from Tier 3 to Tier 2 on the Watch List of the US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) 2023 report will pave the way for greater industry access to international markets, especially for those facing increasingly stricter trade restrictions due to higher labour standards, including forced labour, according to the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

The reputation of Malaysian exporters had been damaged by their previous Tier 3 ranking in the TIP report, although forced labour is not a widespread issue across all industries and companies in the country, FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said in a statement Tuesday (June 20).

Continued efforts to further improve the country’s ranking in the TIP would put Malaysia in a better position to seek free trade agreements with the US and other major trading partners, where strict labour provisions are an integral part of the free trade agreement, he said.

“The elevation from Tier 3 Watch List to Tier 2 Watch List reflects the concerted efforts of both the government and industries. The government has taken the matter very seriously and has, amongst others, launched the National Action Plan on forced labour to underscore its commitment to eliminate forced labour in the country by focusing on awareness, enforcement, labour migration as well as access to remedy and support services,” said Soh.

“Industries, with the assistance of the government and trade associations, have increased their efforts to eradicate any form of forced labour within their supply chain which would have otherwise impacted their market access,” he observed, adding concerted efforts by all stakeholders to implement the National Action Plan against forced labour must continue to ensure that the country moves into the Tier 1 ranking in the coming years.

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