Malaysia urged not to play host to TPPA meeting

Jul 3, 2013 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Malaysia Chronicle

Pressure continues to mount on the government's decision to join the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, a US-sponsored initiative which has drawn widespread protests due to its impact on domestic consumers and local laws.

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#1
Jul 4, 2013
 
A political analyst has praised Malaysia’s wariness of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and says the government should maintain that stance so as to “avoid slipping into any other countries' sphere of influence”.
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#2
Jul 4, 2013
 
Nile Bowie, an American political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, wrote in a New Straits Times opinion piece that the TPPA – a proposed expansion of the existing Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement between several Pacific Rim countries -- “will have an immense impact on the country’s financial, economic, and even legal affairs” if it is signed into law.
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#3
Jul 4, 2013
 
Bowie noted Malaysia’s wariness of the TPPA over concerns it would result in generic medications costing more, and suggested he expected the government to steer itself away from the agreement over further concerns.

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#4
Jul 4, 2013
 
“It would be strange for Malaysia to agree to the TPPA, given its past criticism of neo-liberal capitalism and deregulated trade,” he said.
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#5
Jul 4, 2013
 
“Signing the TPPA would mean restructuring the entire economy and legal system to conform to the stipulations of the deal, resulting in Malaysia being a lot more vulnerable to casino capitalism and currency speculation,” he said, adding that it “would prohibit Malaysia from banning risky financial instruments, speculation and derivatives” and enacting capital controls.
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#6
Jul 4, 2013
 
Bowie said participation in the TPPA would also affect access to the Internet and digital file sharing and put more power in the hands of multinational corporations.
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#7
Jul 4, 2013
 
He said Malaysia’s stance on the TPPA is “a welcoming sign”. “It shows that Malaysia is still not willing to abandon its principles despite defying Western trade remedies,” he said.
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#8
Jul 4, 2013
 
“It's a relief to see that Putrajaya has made itself heard, and has conveyed its willingness to take an independent position, even if it means being the odd man out.” Bowie also highlighted statements former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had previously made about the TPPA.
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#9
Jul 4, 2013
 
Dr Mahathir wrote a blog post on the issue last month, saying the TPPA would favour American companies and, by extension, the US government.
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#10
Jul 4, 2013
 
“I wonder whether Malaysian negotiators have studied the full implication of the TPP. When we look at previous international agreements entered into by Malaysia, we seem to be always at the losing side; e.g. we agreed to sell water to Singapore at three cent per 1000 gallons forever, buy military aircraft without source codes so they cannot be used even to defend us, a delay of six months in the construction of our naval vessels would entitle us to compensation but beyond six months no compensation and the delay was for two years, and many more,” Dr Mahathir wrote, adding that he feared the TPPA “would not give us any worthwhile benefit”.
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#11
Jul 4, 2013
 
“If the Government has not finalised or ratified the TPP, I hope it would study it very carefully,” he wrote.International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said recently that the TPPA would not adversely affect Malaysia's sovereignty.
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#12
Jul 4, 2013
 
He was quoted as saying "There is no regulation in the TPPA that can prevent the government from using, maintain or enforce domestic policies to defend the interests of the country.
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#13
Jul 4, 2013
 
However, Bowie -- who has also previously criticised the TPPA, calling it “the scariest thing you’ve never heard” – agreed with Dr Mahathir that the Malaysian government should scrutinise the implications of the agreement very carefully and be aware of what he called “the Obama administration’s pivot to the Asia-Pacific region”.
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#14
Jul 4, 2013
 
“Washington's emphasis on security issues dominates US foreign policy, and its shift to Asia has not garnered much serious criticism from regional media, which is quite bewildering given the complicated and aggressive history of the US military in the region.
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#15
Jul 4, 2013
 
“Malaysia, as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), should pursue its existing social welfare and economic policies and avoid slipping into any other countries' sphere of influence. “It can start by taking a good hard look at the substance of this trade deal and making the right decision in the people's best interests.”

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#16
Jul 4, 2013
 
hmmmm....interesting to think of the pro and cons of these TPPA thing, some say this is meant for China subtlety.

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#17
Jul 4, 2013
 
Interesting quote from around the net about this matter,

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"Professor Li Xiangyang expressed his opinion on the TPP’s influence on China. In his opinion, TPP is an important part of the returning to Asia-Pacific policy of the U.S. Despite the economic reason, the U.S. strongly supports TPP for the purpose of popularizing the American values, and preventing East Asia from forming a China-centralized area union.

In the future, it is easy to form a TPP 9 countries group, but to form a TPP 12 countries group depends on the attitude of Japan. To China, the exclusiveness effect in the economic practice is very small, but it cannot be ignored in the strategic area. If TPP 12 countries group is formed, then the ASEAN 10+3 supported by China will be delayed.
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#18
Jul 4, 2013
 
Professor Li Xiangyang further add this one as well,this is quite interesting note from Prof Li,

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…once TPP is instituted, APEC will be the frst to be sidelined. For
China, the exclusive TPP will not only bring about the ‘excludability
effect’, but possibly reverse the course of the East Asian regional
integration that China has been pushing for over a decade. It will
constitute a major challenge to China’s rise.

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#19
Jul 4, 2013
 
another shocking revelation from Mathew
Goodman, a former White House coordinator for APEC and the East Asia Summit and
the current William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies (CSIS), he said,

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It is true that TPP is aimed at updating the rules of the road for the
regional trading system and that some of these rules are being designed
with China in mind.

But the motivation for creating new disciplines on
state owned enterprises (SOEs) or strengthening ones on intellectual
property is to create a level playing feld that enables other countries to
better compete with China, not to limit the latter’s growth or integration

----------

hmmmmm....

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#20
Jul 4, 2013
 
a dilemma for China indeed...

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Trans-Pacific Partnership may do more harm than good for China

-Woo Jun Jie and Suvi Dogra say joining US-led initiative may undermine its regional influence-

That the Trans-Pacific Partnership has gained significant currency in the Asia-Pacific region became evident when the Ministry of Commerce announced last month that it was studying the possibility of joining the pact. Interestingly, China's decision comes a month after Japan's entry into the negotiations. While the trade agreement promises significant economic benefits and market access, China's interest is more likely to be politically driven.

Negotiations currently involve the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Japan. The partnership has largely been seen as a significant part of the US "pivot" to Asia. This makes it a vehicle for consolidating US interests and influence in the Asian-Pacific region.

Described as a 21st-century agreement, the partnership involves high standards of free trade and policy harmonisation. This poses significant barriers to China's entry and potentially dilutes the economic gains to be realised should China become a member.

Such disincentives, and the need to defer to the US as leader of this Pacific pact, highlight the political aspect of China's interest.

Being part of the partnership would allow China to join in the regional conversation as well as improve ties with the US. Given the ongoing territorial disputes in the East and South China seas, and its own rapid military modernisation, China's participation would help temper its aggressive image and assure its neighbours of its peaceful intent. This could earn Beijing some much-needed diplomatic brownie points, which would complement its global efforts at a charm offensive.

The US, too, seems to be warming to the idea of actively engaging China. At the recently concluded Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel called "a positive and constructive relationship with China" an "essential part of America's rebalance to Asia".

Importantly, China's decision to consider joining the trade partnership after Japan's own entry into negotiations signals a desire to compete with Japan for regional influence. This comes amid recent efforts by Japan to boost economic ties with Africa, in a bid to counter China's influence and increase Japan's share of trade, investment and resources on the continent.

Nor is China's competition with Japan limited to economics; the two countries are also embroiled in a territorial conflict over the Senkaku, or Diaoyu, islands. Joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership would provide China with another platform on which to compete with Japan for both political influence and economic resources.

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