Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Malaysia must not proceed with TPPA following US withdrawal

I call on the Prime Minister and Minister of International Trade and Industry not to proceed with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (“TPPA”) with the remaining 10 other members following US President Donald Trump’s executive order withdrawing USA from the trade pact.

It is irrational and irresponsible to continue with the TPPA when the principal benefit of improved access to the US market to compensate for the burden and restrictions of the TPPA is gone.

By continuing the TPPA, Malaysia and the remaining countries are required to proceed with the concessions of not only lowering trade barriers but also changing domestic laws and regulations such as intellectual property rights, human rights and legal rights including extra-judicial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) affecting sovereign rights in favour of multinational corporations over local producers and consumers without the corresponding gains in US market access.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that the TPPA has no meaning without the US. Without the US and Japan which two countries account for 80 percent of the TPPA countries’ trade it makes no sense for Malaysia to continue with the TPPA.

It would be far better for Malaysia to negotiate bilateral free trade agreements with the remaining countries that serves the economic interests of Malaysians without having to surrender to the multinational corporations’ demands than to salvage the TPPA.

William Leong Jee Keen

24th January 2017