The Malay Mail Online 7 December 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7—Two cost-benefit analyses of Malaysia’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have provided evidence to counter anti-liberalisation voices opposed to the deal, said the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

The think-tank also said the findings of the studies by PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) and Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) last week demonstrated a pressing need to liberalise the local economy.

“It is shocking how much coverage these anti-liberalisation activists have received and how many people have been influenced by their scare tactics.  I expect that they will now be scrambling to find faults and attempt to discredit the two studies in order to save the little credibility that they have left.  

“We must not be fooled and allow ourselves to be terrified,” IDEAS chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan said in a statement today.

He also noted that the analyses exposed potential pitfalls that could undermine potential benefits of Malaysia signing on to the treaty, notably the exemptions for Bumiputera policies and state-owned enterprises.

Wan Saiful added that the studies have also exposed the “lousy job” Putrajaya has done in explaining the TPP to the public despite having negotiated the deal for the past five years, saying it was unfair that the International Trade and Industry Ministry was forced to deal with the criticism on its own.

Among findings by the two firms in their analyses of the TPP are that Malaysians will not lose access to generic drugs as previously feared and that the fears of loss of sovereignty from the investor-state dispute mechanism are real but likely exaggerated.

Other discoveries include potentially cheaper goods and services due to removed tariffs and increased competition.

On October 5, Malaysia together with US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam concluded negotiations on the TPP. The countries must now seek their individual mandates to sign the deal.

The TPP is a free trade agreement that has been negotiated by the US, Malaysia and nine other nations as part of the larger Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership since 2010.

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