International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the recent decision in the Senate will add traction to negotiations between 12 Pacific Rim countries.
“We’re looking for the way forward which includes engagement with ministries and industries to make sure our concerns are adequately addressed,” he said at a media briefing. The TPA received its final Senate vote on Wednesday and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. The TPA, he said, provides momentum to the talks which `are not there yet’ except for the progress in market access.
“We too have concerns such as state-owned enterprises, bumiputera interests and we also have several domestic processes to see to namely the cost benefit analysis and (bringing the document) to the Parliament.” He however said no timeline at this point was not possible without the inputs from the other 11 partners in the agreement. So far the year-end conclusion target by the leaders of the 12 countries have been missed for the past two years. Since the announcement, member countries have shown more optimism about the conclusion of the negotiations which commenced a decade ago.
According to news reports, Japanese authorities are confident about wrapping up talks by the end of next month while New Zealand is looking at August as a deadline. This could mean a final vote in the US legislation in December. The Singapore trade authorities have also welcomed the passage of the TPA saying it will facilitate the conclusion of the negotiations.
Meanwhile the US-ASEAN Business Council described the TPA as an essential step for US businesses to engage the dynamic economies of ASEAN and other US global trading partners over the coming decades. “US partners in the TPP, including the ASEAN nations Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, are some of the most attractive export destinations for the 150 member companies of the Council,” said Council President and CEO Alexander Feldman.
“TPA will facilitate the conclusion of a successful TPP, an agreement which includes more than 40 per cent of global GDP. It said the TPP is an important part of American economic growth, job creation, the rebalance to Asia, and economic positioning in ASEAN.
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