Youth Roundtable Series : TPPA
Date : 13th December 2015
Time : 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Venue : Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)
Our very first roundtable was on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). We wanted to provide a platform for youth leaders from different political, economic, and social divides to collectively represent the voice of the youth to engage policymakers.
Datuk J. Jayasiri, the Chief Negotiator of TPPA, officiated the invite-only event and gave an hour and a half long overview of the agreement. Next Mr Firdaos Rosli from the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) explained the Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) they had just concluded to us.
The 150 participants then adjourned to three separate rooms for a briefing on these topics:
Room 1: Market Access by Mr Shahril Shazli Ghazali,
Room 2: State owned Enterprise by Mr Arunan Tan Sri Kumaran,
Room 3: Intellectual Property Rights by Mr Burhan Irwan Cheong
After lunch, the delegates, whom all were under aged 35, convened in their respective roundtables to discuss the issues and made recommendations to address each matter. The recommendations were compiled and submitted to YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), who delivered a closing address.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is a proposed trade agreement that touches on various economic and trade policies and involves countries of the Pacific Rim. Initially involving four countries, an agreement has now been reached between 12 countries of the Pacific Rim after five years of continuous negotiations and consultations. The 12 countries make up 40% of the global GDP and a population of 750 million people. Besides the 12 participating countries, counties such as South Korea, Colombia, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Taiwan have expressed interest in participating in TPPA.
Malaysian companies have requested for more open markets and trade facilitative measures as the number of Malaysian investors going global increases. Malaysia’s economic agenda will be driven by the combination of greater market access for our products and increase in foreign investments. The TPPA will also significantly enhance trading with the US, Canada, Mexico and Peru. We will become an integral part of the greater economic integration in the Asia Pacific region by increasing contribution to the supply and value chains.
For Malaysia, the industries that will quickly benefit from TPPA are electronics, commodities, textiles and apparels. As a result, Malaysia could be a big beneficiary of the agreement with an expected 5% boost in their GDP by 2025. However the TPPA also has a few challenges , for instance, government procurement is a new element which was never part of the FTAs that Malaysia has signed. Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) is raises many concerns too, such as access to affordable medicine and healthcare and longer protection term, which might delay manufacturing of generic drugs. Malaysians also worry about proposals to regulate State owned enterprises (SOEs) that compete with government assistance (SOEs) to create a level playing field between SOEs and private enterprises.
As a generation who will be facing the effects of TPPA in the near future, it is imperative that Malaysian youths are aware of these issues and recommend solutions to bridge the gaps.