Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Govt to undertake cost-benefit analysis of TPPA soon - The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will soon undertake a cost-benefit analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to safeguard the interest of the nation, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and the bumiputra business community.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the first meeting would be held after ministry officials return from the 19th round of the TPPA talks in Brunei, which began last week.

"Our standpoint is to continue negotiating in the TPP while at the same time continue ensuring that Malaysia's sovereignty is defended in the course of the negotiations," he told reporters at the ministry's networking session here yesterday.

Mustapa said the Government would continue to engage with the public and the bipartisan Parliamentary Caucus on TPP to receive feedback and inputs.

Asked to comment on some TPP member states, like the United States, which hoped to finalise negotiations by year-end, Mustapa said Malaysia had its own position and was not bound by any fixed timeline.

"If there are still a lot of standing issues to be resolved, of course, it cannot be done within that period. If the cost-benefit analysis indicates that it is not in our interest then definitely we will take serious note of the study," he said as quoted by Bernama.

The TPPA is an international trade pact being negotiated among countries in the Pacific Rim that has attracted much protest and criticism.

Recently, the Bantah TPPA coalition, made up of over 200 NGOs, handed over a memorandum to the US Embassy calling on the Obama leadership to withdraw the TPPA talks.

Meanwhile, a US lawyer and activist familiar with trade negotiating strategies in the United States has cautioned that there is little room for negotiations in the TPP.

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach told a forum on the roundtable discussion on TPP through Skype that as with free trade agreements with the United States in the past, the United States would allow a small exception if there was no financial significance to them.

For example, they gave way to the indigenous people in the Peru-US free trade agreement because there was almost no procurement competition in the indigenous sector, she said.

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