KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia will take the next course of action only when there is official confirmation that the United States will not participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
“Malaysia would wait for greater clarity from the US Administration when the new President takes office on Jan 20, 2017,” Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said today.
This was despite the fact that the latest statement by President-elect Donald Trump on Nov 21 that one of the first tasks as President would be to withdraw the US from the TPP, said the minister a statement here, today.
“Once there is certainty from the new US Administration after Jan 20, 2017, the chief negotiators may meet to consider options and the way forward.”
Meanwhile, Malaysia would continue its work in amending relevant legislations as changes to some of these laws were not just to comply with the TPP but were a result of the ongoing domestic review meant to strengthen and update a number of laws to facilitate trade and fulfil international obligations, he said.
“The final decision on the proposed amendments will however be made by the Cabinet,” said Mustapa in his response to the announcement by Trump on the US’ intention to withdraw from the TPP.
The Minister said all the 12 leaders of the TPP countries met in Lima, Peru on Nov 19, 2016 to review developments and update on their respective domestic processes towards ratification.
“All the TPP countries, except for the US, are in various stages of obtaining their domestic legislative approvals. New Zealand has completed its Parliamentary process. Japan’s Lower House has approved the TPPA which is now in the Upper House of the Japanese Parliament,” he said.
He said all the leaders reaffirmed their commitment towards the TPP because of the benefits it would bring to their respective economies, as well as to the Asia-Pacific region, in boosting trade and investment and creating jobs and at the same time pursuing good environmental and labour standards.
“They were also convinced of the role of the TPP in further enhancing the internationalisation of small and medium enterprises.”
The TPP would also create the enabling environment for the future growth of e-commerce in the region. In Peru, the TPP leaders also acknowledged that the deal was a balanced and high quality agreement that should not be abandoned, he said.
“As I have indicated before, the TPPA under the present conditions for entry into force cannot take place without the US participation, as the US accounts for about 60 per cent of the combined gross domestic product (GDP) of the 12 members.”
“Under the agreement, a minimum of six countries accounting for 85 per cent of the combined GDP of the 12 members must ratify before the TPPA can enter into force,” said Mustapa.
He also reiterated that free and fair trade had benefited Malaysia.
“While globalisation and liberalisation may not be perfect, free trade agreements complemented with appropriate domestic policies and support measures can spread the benefits of development in favour of the poor and marginalised segments of the society.”
As a trading nation, Malaysia would continue to pursue preferential trading arrangements that are fair and bring benefits to the country in terms of trade, investment, income and employment, he added. – BERNAMA