Pacific nations reach TPP deal
KUALA LUMPUR: TRADE Ministers from 12 countries have reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, marking the conclusion of the trade pact.
In a statement yesterday, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said negotiators reached an agreement on the TPP yesterday in Atlanta, the United States, after five years of discussions.
“Malaysia has won several concessions from parties to the TPP in the recently-concluded negotiations and parties agreed to take into consideration almost all of our concerns and sensitivities, particularly in the areas of government procurement, state-owned enterprises and the Bumiputera issues.
“Elements of flexibilities accorded to Malaysia include longer transition periods and differential treatment for Malaysia’s sensitive areas,” said Mustapa.
He stressed that Malaysia would never be party to an agreement that violated the nation’s Constitution or one that undermined the core policies instituted by the government to benefit the people.
“Whether Malaysia signs on to the TPP would only be decided after full and extensive discussions within the country.
“Let me reiterate that whether or not Malaysia becomes party to the TPP will be a collective decision.
“Once the complete and official text of the agreement is prepared, it will be in the public domain and presented to Parliament for debate. We will also hold full consultations with interested parties and the public,” he said.
On the issue of intellectual property rights, Malaysia had stood firm that the TPP should not hinder the public’s accessibility to affordable drugs and healthcare, while at the same time ensuring the necessary incentives for pharmaceutical innovators to produce new drugs and medicines.
“In relation to this, all parties have achieved a mutually agreed balance to ensure that their interests are taken into consideration,” the minister said.
On market access, a fundamental element in any free trade agreement, Malaysia has concluded its negotiations with all parties.
“Good offers were made by all parties in which import duties for almost all products will be eliminated.
“Essentially, the outcome will provide Malaysian companies with greater market-access opportunities, particularly in markets such as the US, Canada, Mexico and Peru with which Malaysia does not have FTAs (free trade agreements) with,” said Mustapa.
“Malaysian exporters will gain competitive advantage over regional competitors in exporting products such as from our electrical and electronics sector, chemical products, palm oil products, rubber products, wood products, textiles as well as automotive parts and components.
“All of these represent major exports for Malaysia and generate huge amounts of revenue for our national economy and employ tens of thousands of Malaysians.
“The TPP is a comprehensive, 21st century free trade agreement and we firmly believe that through the TPP, we will be able to further promote our trade and investment agenda and help Malaysia mitigate the challenges of the global economic environment.
“As an open economy and a country which has benefited from an open trade and investment regime, we not only need to move in tandem with regional and global developments but also need to improve our competitiveness.”
Mustapa said in the course of the negotiations in Atlanta, which started last Wednesday, he was in constant communication with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, updating him on the progress as well as seeking guidance and mandates to ensure Malaysia’s positions and interests are safeguarded.
The 12 TPP members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.
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