MORE CONSULTATIONS: Isis and Teraju to study benefits and cost of pact to Malaysia
THE benefits and cost of Malaysia participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be scrutinised by its leading think-tank and a national Bumiputera agenda unit.
The International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) said the autonomous Institute of Strategic and International Studies (Isis) and Bumiputera Agenda Steering Unit (Teraju) will study
the underlying issues of the free trade pact.
“Cost and benefit analysis aside, Miti will also continue consultations with all stakeholders — parliamentarians, industry representatives, civil society, non-governmental organisations and experts in specific fields,” it disclosed yesterday.
A debate on the TPP will also be held in Parliament, it added.
The TPP agreement talks involve Malaysia, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.
The ministry was responding to queries ahead of a Business Times Insight series, here, today, which will discuss the TPP, its opportunities and the challenges for Malaysia.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed is the keynote speaker at the event, which will also feature a panel forum participated by Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon and academician Dr Sufian Jusoh from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
The cost and benefit analysis comes on the heels of the feasibility study by the United Nations Development Programme when Malaysia decided to join the negotiations three years ago. The study revealed that TPP will help Malaysia achieve its Vision 2020 target.
Teraju, which was set up last year, has helped shift the Bumiputera agenda in Malaysia's development to a higher gear.
The threat of TPP to the Bumiputera agenda, alongside other national interests, has led to intense debates during negotiations held in Kota Kinabalu in July and Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, in August.
Malaysia, which has signed and implemented six bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and six regional FTAs, hopes to be an integral part of the greater economic integration within the dynamic Asia-Pacific region by participating in the TPP.
The Business Times Insight session, which has attracted more than 100 participants, will provide a platform for policymakers, academicians and industry leaders to exchange views on how Malaysia should move forward on this issue.
So far, 19 rounds of negotiations have been held to discuss the scope that covers traditional FTA elements, as well as new elements for Malaysia, such as competition, labour, environment, government procurement and intellectual property rights.
Like Malaysia's move to involve public stakeholder participation in August, TPP leaders have also agreed that there is a need to further engage stakeholders to reach an agreement that caters to the needs of citizens.
One of the calls Malaysia made during the 19th round is that transparency of the talks should be heightened.
TPP leaders, who had met on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali earlier this month, also agreed that continuous efforts should be undertaken to resolve outstanding issues, with the objective of completing the negotiations this year.
"This means a comprehensive and balanced regional agreement that ensures the benefits are fully shared, taking into account the diversity of the levels of development," said Miti.
"Safeguarding national interests and national sovereignty will remain the priority for Malaysia's negotiation team," the ministry added.