TPPA motion tabled in Parliament

27 Jan 2016 / 11:46 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) became controversial because it did not just focus on tariffs and tax reduction.
"It is a new era and comprehensive treaty. The agreement covers six important matters including lower tax for certain products specifically electronic and electrical goods, liberalisation and protection for overseas investments and environmental, labour and intellectual property enforcement, transparency and anti-graft policy," International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed (pix) said when tabling the TPPA motion in a special meeting at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Mustapa added it is the first international treaty that is brought to Parliament to be decided.
"Malaysia is the only country among the 12 member countries involved in the treaty to debate it in Parliament," he added.
Mustapa said it will also increase cooperation in customs and the development of small and medium industries, while obtaining better treatment in four countries namely the United States, Canada, Mexico and Peru, where Malaysia has not had an agreement before.
"Currently the import duty for our electrical and electronic products to enter the US market is an average 5%. With the TPPA, the duty on 99.8% of electrical and electronic products will be abolished immediately.
"This will allow local companies to increase investments through which we can expect an increase in job opportunities and exports," he said.
Similarly, Mustapa said the import tax on textile products will be reduced by 70% and it will give a 30% boost to exports of Malaysian textiles.
"Although Malaysia is not a main manufacturer in the automotive sector, the government feels this sector has high potential under the TPPA.
"Automotive components can be exported to countries like Canada, US and Mexico by abolishing the duty and rules of origin, which require the automotive manufacturers to have input from the TPPA countries," he said.
Displaying several local products like a tracksuit, fuse box and rubber glove in the Dewan, he said with the TPPA local automotive, electronic and textile businesses will be able to penetrate the US and Canadian markets.
Touching on the common concerns raised by the people, Mustapa said TPPA will not cause a hike in medicine prices and the 20-year patent protection under the World Trade Organisation terms will be maintained.
He said the obligation on labour under TPPA is to increase the standard of the current labour force like having the freedom to form workers union, collective agreements, minimum wage, safety and health aspects as well as abolishing forced and child labour, .
"TPPA will not change the policy on foreign workers' entry into the country. Foreign or skilled workers in the country are still subject to domestic conditions," Mustapa said.
Reiterating that Malaysia is entering the agreement on its own terms, he assured that the Bumiputra policy will not be affected with the TPPA.
However, he said if the government delays in signing the agreement, it may not obtain the same exceptions and flexibility that have been agreed today like Bumiputra and halal issues.

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