TPP is going to be officially signed on February 4th, 2016 in New Zealand. Trade Ministers of 12 countries will formally sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Auckland, New Zealand on February 4th, 2016.
- On last Saturday, thousands of Malaysians took part in protests against joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), just days before the Congress debated the Free Trade Partnership (FTP). TPP will take effect only after being approved by all 12 member states.
- Many protesters who belong to the opposition party Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) concentrated in Kuala Lumpur. They are concerned that Southeast Asian nations may lose control of their economies if they join the TPP.
- The Government of Prime Minister Najib Razak has argued that Malaysia, which relies heavily on exports of goods, minerals and electronics, can not afford to leave a trade area occupying 40% of global GDP.
- Most of the decisions of the ruling Barisan Nasional should ensure that the TPP is approved, but Najib may not be able to afford any increase in public approval while he is figuring out how to get rid of a financial scandal in a state fund. Najib has denied all wrongdoings and the leaders of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia have been less critical than other parties of the controversies at the Malaysian Development Berhad Fund, and the way USD 700 million has been sent to the personal account of the prime minister.
- Those who oppose the TPP fear that the Partnership will favor foreign multinationals and harm the national interests.
- In an attempt to reassure the opposition group, Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry, affirmed that the policies on national rights would be protected. Critics argue that small and medium businesses – which provide 65% of jobs – will be most affected if the Partnership takes effect. Salahuddin Ayub, Vice-president of Amanah (a party split from PAS), stated: “This is not a racial issue.” “When we talk about small and medium businesses, everyone is affected.”
- Moreover, there are concerns about a rapid rise in medicine prices as intellectual property provisions will be closely monitored for the sale of pharmaceuticals and the benefits of large pharmaceutical companies.
- Besides, in the hope of soon joining the TPP, South Korea and Taiwan have started bilateral negotiations with some TPP members. In particular, for Japan (a member of the TPP), the important issue that they concern is the tariffs that Korea and Taiwan have placed on Japanese cars and electronics. Other Asian countries like the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia have expressed interest in negotiating the TPP.
Phan Law Vietnam