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Anti-TPP Sentiment In US Not A Deterrent For Malaysia: MITI Sec-Gen

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KUALA LUMPUR: Meetings related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ratification process will continue regardless of the re-emergence of anti-TPP sentiment in the United States.

Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Secretary-General Tan Sri Dr Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria said renewed concerns over the TPP in the US did not mean that every discussions regarding the partnership at the national level would be cancelled.

“I think this (the sentiment) is the conversations that all (TPP) member parties are having right now. We cannot second guess on what is going to happen in the US.

“There are lot of noises…We just have to let it run and see what happens,” she told reporters on the sidelines of the World Bank Knowledge and Research Hub conference themed, ‘The Rise of the South at a Crossroad: A View from East Asia and Latin America’ here, today.

Sta Maria said the chief negotiators and TPP ministers were expected to hold an internal discussion on the matter in Lima, Peru, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial Meeting this November.

“We have agreed to that (national-level meeting) and the Cabinet has decided to set up a TPP implementation committee at the government level.

“The momentum is there. So (now) we just have regular meetings with the implementers to carry out what we have said earlier. We are going to look into the regulatory framework, all the laws that need to be amended, processes and procedures,” she added.

Sta Maria said the first meeting, which is scheduled for next week, would involve the related parties and ministries and chaired by MITI Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

“We’ve agreed to meet regularly…There are regulations and laws that we need to bring up-to-date to meet the international obligations (of the TPP),” she added.

Recently, there were claims by US presidential candidates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in their campaigns that the trade deal would harm the US economy.

In response, Mustapa said he believed the President-elect, when inaugurated in January 2017, would support the TPP.

The US Presidential Election will be held on Nov 8 this year.

“There’s an uncertainty about what is happening in the US, and the candidates in the US Presidential Election are looking for support. But we believe the US Congress will agree to the TPP,” he said.

The trade pact, whose sensitive issues have been criticised in Malaysia and other countries, was signed on Feb 4, 2016 in New Zealand by trade ministers of the 12 TPP countries.



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