KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is on track in meeting the 2018 deadline for the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
“The TPPA will come into effect as long as six countries accounting for 85% of the bloc’s GDP ratify the agreement,” said International Trade and Industry Ministry secretary-general Datuk J. Jayasiri.
All 12 countries in the TPP have 24 months to ratify the agreement which was signed in February in New Zealand.
The agreement will come into force 60 days after that.
Yesterday, Jayasiri launched “The King’s Discourse on the TPPA” organised by King’s College London Alumni Malaysia and Columbia University Alumni Association.
The one-day event brought together embassy representatives, lawyers and industry players to analyse the impact of the TPPA.
Should the TPP fall through, Jayasiri said Malaysia would find ways to engage with the four countries in the bloc with which Malaysia does not have an existing free trade agreement (FTA).
The 12 countries that negotiated the TPP included Malaysia, the United States, Japan, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Canada, Mexico and Brunei.
The four new preferential markets for Malaysia through the multilateral FTA are the US, Peru, Canada and Mexico.
In his presentation, Jayasiri said the TPPA was a “done deal” which would not be renegotiated.
The TPPA, he said, promotes good governance where many of its requirements focused on transparency.
“Most of the ranking agencies today look at good governance when ranking a country. Hopefully the TPP will bring us there,” he said.
Being part of the TPP would demonstrate to the world that Malaysia is ready to negotiate high standard FTAs, he said, adding that a reluctance to participate in it would send a signal that Malaysia was “frightened”.
Indran Shanmuganathan of Shearn Delamore & Co said in terms of intellectual property laws, Malaysia was essentially almost compliant with most of the TPPA standards, pending some structural amendments.
“Take the copyright protection, for instance. The TPPA protects copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years, while the current law covers life plus 50 years,” he said.
However, lawyer Prof Gurdial Singh Nijar was concerned about the consequences of the extension on small and medium entreprises (SME), which account for over 90% of establishments in Malaysia.
“SMEs do not do their own research but rely on the expiry of the copyright to use the information for their businesses.
“With the restrictive intellectual property laws, the SMEs either have to buy the technology or do their own research. This will have a major impact on the SMEs,” he said.