What does TPP mean for Singapore?

For Singapore, the single biggest corporations are Temasek Holdings and GIC and information pages for both indicate that the government of Singapore holds very little jurisdiction over what they do. They also don’t need to publically account for their investment actions. The two sovereign wealth funds and their subsidiaries are likely to be the key players and beneficiaries of the TPP.

However, Temasek and GIC cannot sign up for TPP on their own since TPP needs to be endorsed and ratified by the government. There have been citizen protest within the 12 signatory countries due to lack of transparency in the agreement. Singapore’s position on terms of TPP evident in leaked documents shows that the Singapore government has accepted most of the chapters proposed.  If the current government does eventually sign into law the TPP, Singapore citizens and businesses would effectively be subject to the demands of big international corporations, the likes of which include Temasek and GIC, who have the capacity to use legal enforcement to get their way, as provided for under the agreement.

As said by Lim Hng Kiang, Singaporean politician, the TPP commits Singapore to ensuring a stable and fair regime for foreign investors. The ISDS mechanism gives foreign investors the right to initiate dispute settlement proceeding against host countries. At the same time, to prevent misuse of ISDS, there are also provisions within the TPP which discourage and allow the dismissal of frivolous suits.

For the TPP is not just a simple trade agreement; it is a matter of great public concern, and citizens have a right to demand for their MPs, current or future, to take note and take action.

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