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?

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?

Complaints, reports online on TPP largely unfounded, claims Treasury chief

An article posted on January 13, 2016 in The Malay Mail Online, http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/complaints-reports-online-on-tpp-largely-unfounded-claims-treasury-chief, states that Malaysian Treasury Secretary General Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah believes that the bulk of the criticism and unfavorable reports on the Trans Pacific Partnership online are “rubbish.” He defends the Najib administration’s plan to sign the controversial 12 country free trade deal, and he believes that Putrajaya, the Malaysia administrative city, had the people’s best interests in mind when it agreed to sign the trade deal as it deemed to be beneficial for the economy. According to Mohd Irwan, “The way they say about TPP… half the things they say are rubbish. When I read the alternative media, the things they put out there are baseless, inaccurate,” and “The young ones, they believe it.” The TPP is widely criticized in Malaysia, where critics claim that it will drive up medical costs and have an adverse effect on the country’s rice industry. Even with the criticism, it appears that the Malaysian government is still backing the TPP and believes that it will cause them to see economic growth and an increase in exports.

Do you think the TPP is a good thing for Malaysia? How much will Malaysia benefit from the TPP?

Pacific trade pact’s market enlargement benefits Malaysian companies, says minister

According to an article published on October 26th, 2015 in the Malaysian Insider, http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/business/article/pacific-trade-pacts-market-enlargement-benefits-malaysian-companies-says-mi, Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed stated that Malaysian companies will benefit from market enlargement under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He believes that the larger combined market will help local Malaysian companies explore new markets abroad. In 2014, the total investment of Malaysian companies abroad was RM520 billion, which was significantly higher than the total investment of foreign companies into Malaysia at RM470 billion. Half of the investment by local companies abroad was through Petronas, which included investment in fellow TPP country Canada. Mustapa believes that Malaysian companies will receive preferential treatment in terms of import and export duties from other TPP trading partners if they decide to join the pack, which would make the country an attractive trade investment destination.

Will Malaysia really benefit that much from the TPP? Will the TPP cause foreign investment into Malaysia to be larger than Malaysian companies abroad? Or will the TPP cause Malaysia to invest more in foreign countries?

TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP Benefits to U.S. Agriculture

An article published on October 16th, 2015 by the United States Department of Agriculture, http://www.fas.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2015-10/tpp_details_alcohol_10-16-15.pdf, describes how the TPP will provide significant new market opportunities for United States exporters. The TPP will promote economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, which will increase the demand for U.S. food and agriculture products. In specific, the TPP strengthens trade rules and provides new market access for US exports to Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Brunei. Without the TPP, US alcohol exports to the TPP region face a competitive disadvantage and are subject to many duties and tariffs. The US exported $579 million of wine, $359 million of beer, and $539 million of distilled spirits to countries in the TPP region in 2014. Of that, the US exported $2.9 million in alcoholic beverages to Malaysia. Malaysia’s current import duties for wine range from $2.08-$25.58 per liter, for beer are $1.18 per liter, and for distilled spirits they range from $0.71-$22.04 per liter. Under the current agreement, all of the import duties for alcoholic beverages entering into Malaysia will be eliminated 16 years after the agreement is ratified. This could have a significant impact not only on the Malaysian and the United States economy, but also on all of the other countries that Malaysia imports their alcoholic beverages from.

What impact will this have on Malaysia’s economy? How will Malaysia’s domestic alcohol industry be affected by the TPP? Will the US and other countries have an opportunity to export significantly more alcohol to Malaysia?