Trade minister: TPP dead and ‘buried’ if Trump becomes US president

An article posted on March 21st, 2016 in the Malay Mail Online, http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/trade-minister-tpp-dead-and-buried-if-trump-becomes-us-president, states that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will likely end if Donald Trump becomes the next US President and the world superpower opts to withdraw from the trade deal. Malaysian International and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed believes that the trade deal would be ineffective without participation from the US seeing as it is the world’s biggest economy. According to Mustapa, “We don’t want to make a prediction but if Congress doesn’t agree with the TPPA, then TPPA will be buried because section 30 of the TPPA needs the participation of the US because they are the world’s largest economy, with 20 per cent of the global economy,” and “So when we negotiate TPPA without the US, then it’ll be less effective and have less meaning.” He also stated that Malaysia will not agree to the TPP if the United States seeks to push through any amendments to the current proposal. Donald Trump has already shown his feelings about the TPP, reportedly calling it the “biggest betrayal” of Americans, and claiming that the deal will result in job losses to US countrymen from massive work outsourcing. No one is certain who will win the United States Presidential Election this year, but it is very apparent that it will have a huge impact on Malaysia and all of the 12 countries involved in the TPP.

Do you think that the TPP will be buried if Donald Trump is elected president? Do you think that the US will back out of the TPP if Donald Trump is elected president?

Scott Morrison vetoes ‘rear view’ analysis of Trans-Pacific Partnership

According to an article published on February 17th, 2016 in The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/17/scott-morrison-vetoes-rear-view-analysis-of-trans-pacific-partnership, the Treasurer of Australia, Scott Morrison, has ruled out conducting a “rear view” analysis of the Trans Pacific Partnership, stating that the Australian government is already satisfied with its projected benefits. The only official analysis of the trade deal was conducted by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but multiple consumer groups had asked for an independent review of the trade deal. According to Morrison, “The work has been done … in securing these agreements and the sceptics will always doubt the trade benefits of these sorts of deals,” and “They’re welcome to their skepticism. The government is convinced of it.” Earlier this month trade minister Andrew Robb rejected calls for a cost-benefit analysis of the trade deal after it emerged that Australia’s economy would only grow by 0.7% as a result of the agreement. An analysis done by the World Bank showed that Australia fared worse than all other countries besides the US in the trade deal. Even with this analysis, it appears that the Australian government is still very confident that the TPP will have a positive economic impact for Australia and they continue to back it.

Should Australia make a “rear view” analysis of the TPP? Do you think the TPP will benefit Australia more than projected?

Malaysia to promote halal products to TPP countries

According to a recent article posted in Astro AWANI, http://english.astroawani.com/malaysia-news/malaysia-promote-halal-products-tpp-countries-92542, Malaysia is looking to expand their halal market to the countries involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership, including Australia and New Zealand. Halal is defined as relating to or denoting food, specifically meat, that is prepared as prescribed by Muslim Law. Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that Malaysia has been working with the two countries as they are familiar with Malaysia’s halal agenda. According to Mustapa, “We are looking for markets in some of these (TPP) countries. For example, in the United States and Canada, where the Muslim population is growing,” and “By promoting halal products in those countries, we hope Malaysian exporters would get better market access in some of the TPP countries.” Mustapa also stated that the halal industry and their agenda was recognized as an important focal point to the government to help develop Malaysian halal business. Led by the International Trade and Industry Minister, the World Halal Week 2016 will take place from March 28th to April 2nd at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The event, which is themed “Beyond the Economy” marks Malaysia’s determination to identify the untapped potential of the halal industry beyond commercial and trade value.

Do you think countries like Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada will purchase more Halal products from Malaysia? How important do you think Halal products are to Malaysia’s success?

Push to stop Parliament ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership

A recent article published in The Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/push-to-stop-parliament-ratifying-the-transpacific-partnership-20160202-gmjiay.html, states that almost 60 community organizations have called for an independent assessment of the Trans Pacific Partnership before the Australian Parliament votes to ratify the agreement. Multiple groups, from the Public Health Association, to Greenpeace, to Catholic Religious Australia, and to the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, have signed a letter warning that the trade deal poses “grave risks to the public interest” if it is not independently assessed. The alliance of groups want an organization like the Productivity Commission to evaluate the TPP’s economic costs and benefits before their Parliament agrees to ratify it. The letter states, “We the undersigned 59 community organizations representing millions of Australians are gravely concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership text agreed by the US, Australia and 10 other Pacific Rim countries,” and “In the absence of such independent assessments, we consider that the TPP poses grave risks to the public interest and ask you to oppose the implementing legislation.” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb believe that the TPP is “a gigantic foundation stone” for Australia and that the deal will deliver “substantial benefits for Australia,” respectively. The TPP should be formally signed by Australia’s neighbor New Zealand this Thursday, and it is likely to be tabled in Australia’s parliament later this month.

Will an independent assessment change the Australian Government’s view on the TPP? What do you think an independent assessment would reveal?

Thousands gather in Malaysia for anti-TPP rally

According to an article posted on January 23rd, 2016 in Channel News Asia, http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/thousands-gather-in/2451410.html, almost 5,000 Malaysians staged a three hour protest on Saturday January 23rd against the Trans Pacific Partnership, just days before the Malaysian government is scheduled to vote on the free trade deal. The protest was led by the opposition party Parti Islan Se-Malaysia (PAS), non-governmental organizations, and student unions. Protesters were armed with banners and chanted anti-TPP slogans while they organized in Kuala Lumpur’s Padang Merbok. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has argued that Malaysia cannot afford to stay out of a trade deal whose participants account for 40% of the global economy. But opponents of the TPP say they fear that it would compromise national interests and favor foreign multinational companies over domestic Malaysian companies. It appears that some Malaysian citizens are worried about the impact of the TPP, but the Malaysian government is scheduled to vote on the trade deal this week.

Do you think the TPP will benefit Malaysia? Do you think that the Malaysian government will sign the trade deal?

Malaysia trade minister calls on parliament to pass TPP bill

According to an article posted on January 26th, 2016 in The Bangkok Post, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/asean/840260/malaysia-trade-minister-calls-on-parliament-to-pass-tpp-bill, Malaysia’s trade Minister Mustapa Mohamed warned Tuesday that Malaysia will lag behind Vietnam if it does not accept the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal as parliament began a session to debate and vote on the free trade act. According to Mohammed, “Thirty years ago, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan were at the same level of development. Today, the other three are developed nations while Malaysia is still stuck in the middle-income trap,” and “We don’t want to be overtaken by Vietnam or other neighboring countries.” He is worried that “Malaysia will regret it if we do not sign the TPPA as investors will look at countries like Vietnam as a more attractive investment destination.” Just as in some of the other member countries, the TPP has received criticism in Malaysia from some parties. Last Saturday, thousands took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur in a last ditch attempt to stop the Malaysian government from signing the deal. The crowd’s contentions range from an increase in medicine prices, erosion of sovereignty, to further economic displacement of ethnic Malaysians. The members of the Malaysian House are scheduled to vote on the deal on Wednesday, and the senate are scheduled to vote on the deal on Thursday.

Do you think that the TPP will benefit Malaysia? Will the Malaysian government sign the trade deal?

Malaysia risks losing out if it rejects TPP, warns minister

An article published January 15th, 2016 in The Malaysian Insider, http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/malaysia-risks-losing-out-if-it-rejects-tpp-warns-minister, states that Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed believes that Malaysia risks losing its attraction as an investment destination of manufacturers and service providers for the TPP market if they decline to be a part of the trade deal. According to Mustapa, “Malaysia will face more intense competition from Vietnam and Singapore in wooing foreign investments if we do not join TPP,” and “We will also lose the first-mover opportunity, while local and foreign companies operating in Malaysia might scale down their operations.” Over the past 5 years of difficult negotiations over the TPP, Malaysia has been granted several exemptions and flexibilities to help defend its own national interests. Mustapa is also quoted as stating that the “government feels that there are more advantages than disadvantages in joining the TPP.” He was cited stating that wider market access, a comprehensive integration in the supply chain at global and regional levels for small and medium enterprises, and an upsurge in investments as examples of positives of the TPP for Malaysia. It is apparent that Mustapa and the Malaysian government believe that the TPP is imperative for the continued success of the Malaysia economy.

Will Malaysia approve the TPP? Do you the TPP will benefit Malaysia as much as Mustapa believes?