Media Statement by Minister of International Trade and Industry
Conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations
1. Malaysia has won several concessions from parties to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in the recently concluded negations held in the US city of Atlanta, International Trade and Industry Minister Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed said.
2. “Parties agreed to take into consideration almost all of our concerns and sensitivities particularly in the areas of government procurement, state-owned enterprises and the bumiputera issues. Elements of flexibilities accorded to Malaysia include longer transition periods and differential treatment for Malaysia’s sensitive areas,” he said.
3. Dato’ Sri Mustapa stressed that Malaysia would never be party to an agreement that violated the nation’s Constitution or one that undermined the core policies instituted by the Government to benefit the people.
4. The Minister said that whether Malaysia signs on to the TPPA would only be decided after full and extensive discussions within the country. “Let me reiterate that whether or not Malaysia becomes a Party to the TPPA will be a collective decision. Once the complete and official text of the Agreement is prepared, it will be in the public domain and presented to Parliament for debate. We will also hold full consultations with interested parties and the public,” he said.
5. The Minister said that negotiators reached agreement on the TPPA on October 5, 2015, in Atlanta, marking the conclusion of the TPPA negotiations which began in 2010. The Ministers, together with all their respective Chief Negotiators, had worked round the clock from September 30, preceded by the Chief Negotiators meeting from 26 September. The TPP Parties are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.
6. “In the course of the negotiations, in which I participated from 30 September – 1 October 2015, I was in constant communication with YAB Prime Minister, updating him on the progress as well as seeking guidance and mandates to ensure Malaysia’s positions and interests are safeguarded. Even after I left Atlanta for official engagements in Milan and Istanbul, I continued to monitor the discussions and constantly consulted YAB Prime Minister, and conveyed his guidance immediately to our Chief Negotiator and his team in Atlanta,” Dato’ Sri Mustapa said.
7. He said that on the issue of intellectual property rights, Malaysia had stood firm that the TPPA should not hinder the public’s accessibility to affordable drugs and health care, while at the same time ensuring the necessary incentives for pharmaceutical innovators to produce new drugs and medicines. “In relation to this, all Parties have achieved a mutually agreed balance to ensure that their interests are taken into consideration,” the Minister said.
8. On market access, a fundamental element in any free trade agreement, Malaysia has concluded its negotiations with all Parties. “Good offers were made by all Parties in which import duties for almost all products will be eliminated. Essentially, the outcome will provide Malaysian companies with greater market-access opportunities, particularly in markets such as the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Peru with which Malaysia does not have FTAs,” the Minister said.
9. “Malaysian exporters will gain competitive advantage over regional competitors in exporting products such as from our electrical and electronics sector, chemical products, palm oil products, rubber products, wood products, textiles as well as automotive parts and components. All of these represent major exports for Malaysia and generate huge amounts of revenue for our national economy and employ tens of thousands of Malaysians” he added.
10. The TPPA as a “comprehensive, 21st century free-trade agreement.” We firmly believe that through TPPA, we will be able to further promote our trade and investment agenda and help Malaysia mitigate the challenges of the global economic envi
ronment. As an open economy and a country which has benefited from an open trade and investment regime, we not only need to move in tandem with regional and global developments but also need to improve our competitiveness.
YB DATO’ SRI MUSTAPA MOHAMED
MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE AND INDUSTRY
5 October 2015