TPP: Putrajaya, Tokyo on same page

TOKYO: Putrajaya and Tokyo are on the same page that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) should come into force and Putrajaya hoped the strategic importance of the free trade pact will be recognised by the incoming Donald Trump administration.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said the Nov 17 meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and and US president-elect Trump (in the US) was very much awaited by all TPP countries.

"Hopefully, the strategic importance of TPP will be recognised by the incoming administration as well as by all participating countries," Najib said during a joint press conference with Abe here today.

Najib said Putrajaya and Tokyo have passed the resolutions in the their respective Parliament to participate in the TPP.

"It is clear for Malaysia to go ahead for TPP, and hope that the TPP agreement will come into force," said Najib, who is on his second day of the three-day working visit to Japan.

Earlier, Najib and Abe led their respective delegation for the bilateral meeting at the Prime Minister's Office here.

Abe said both countries would carry forward with their domestic procedures respectively for the early entry into force of the TPP agreement.

Besides Japan and Malaysia, TPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, US and Vietnam.

The idea, which was mooted by the outgoing US President Barack Obama, will involve a free trade area covering about 40 per cent of the global economic power.

However, Trump, during his election campaign, was reported to have called for the trade deal to be aborted.

On the Malaysia-Singapore High-Speed Rail (HSR) project, Najib said, Malaysia and Singapore were on track to sign the joint project agreement early next month.

He said international tender for the project would be called by the fourth quarter of 2017.

The HSR project was reported to have been estimated to cost between RM60 billion and RM65 billion. It will link Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in 90 minutes and had attracted the interests of suppliers from many countries including China, Japan, South Korea and Europe.

Najib said all issues related to the joint project agreement have "more or less" been settled.

"I have reassured Prime Minister Abe that the process to arrive at the final decision (on the project agreement) will be done in transparent and objective manner," said Najib.

On other matter, Najib said, Malaysia has offered its technical expertise to Japan in the development of halal industry in this country as it wooed more Muslim tourists.

The two leaders earlier witnessed the exchange of notes between Japanese Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Makio Miyagawa, and Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Director-General, Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Kahar, concerning the grant of two Japanese Coast Guard vessels to MMEA.

Najib and Abe also witnessed the exchange of Memorandum of Cooperation between Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) and Malaysian Investment Development Authority and Jetro and Malaysia External Trade Corporation, all taken place at the Prime Minister's Office here.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, had a separate meeting with Akie Abe, wife of the Japanese Prime Minister here.

Najib and Rosmah later attended a dinner hosted by Abe and wife at the official residence of the prime minister here. — Bernama