The TPP agreement undoubtedly brings many benefits to the Malaysian economy. Some of these have already been discussed in an earlier blog post. However, it’s also important to point out that there might be some concerns with implementing the agreement. There are provisions for copyright and intellectual property protection. How does that affect access to cheaper medicines? How are local businesses negatively affected by having to survive against foreign competition? These are some of the issues to ponder on.
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?
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?
In an article (http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/NAFTA-on-Steriods-National-Mexican-Union-Protests-TPP-20160130-0007.html) posted following a TPP negotiation team meeting in which Roberto Zapata, the head of the organization, stated that Mexico was ready to join the TPP, the Mexico National Workers Union have openly rejected the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “We say no because it was negotiated without consulting us, but also because it will bring serious consequences for Mexico, United States, Chile, Canada, and Peru.” Additionally, the protesters argued that only transnational corporations will benefit from the signing of the TPP. Additionally, two noble prize winners, Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, oppose the TPP because they argue “it has the potential to harm people’s quality of life and it is an agreement that has been negotiated in secret”. In reference to the 1994 free trade agreement that Mexico signed with the US and Canada that ended in “disaster for local agriculture”, this new TPP is a “NAFTA on steroids” and could “negatively impact food security and undermine Mexican farmers”. Are these arguments valid? What are the potential benefits for Mexican farmers that are not being recognized?
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?
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?
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?