PETALING JAYA: The United States has praised the much-desired conclusion to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, which will strengthen economic cooperation between the 12 participating countries.
US Secretary of State John Kerry (pic) said the landmark trade deal would boost the country’s economy and shape its strategic relationships in the Asia-Pacific region for the long haul.
“The TPP will spur economic growth and prosperity, enhance competitiveness, and bring jobs to American shores.
“It will provide new and meaningful access for American companies, large and small. And by setting high standards on labour, the environment, intellectual property, and a free and open Internet, this agreement will level the playing field for American businesses and workers,” he said in a brief statement following the conclusion of the TPP talks in Atlanta on Monday.
Kerry also praised the negotiating teams for bringing a successful end to the proposed trade pact.
In Malaysia, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the country had managed to gain several concessions from the TPP’s negotiating parties to ensure that national interests were upheld.
“Parties agreed to take into consideration almost all of our concerns and sensitivities particularly in the areas of government procurement, state-owned enterprises and the bumiputra issues.
“Elements of flexibilities accorded to Malaysia include longer transition periods and differential treatment for Malaysia’s sensitive areas,” Mustapa said in a statement.
He said the outcome of the negotiations had opened up greater market-access opportunities for Malaysian companies in countries like the US, Canada, Mexico and Peru, which Malaysia has no existing free trade agreements with.
“Malaysian exporters will gain competitive advantage over regional competitors in exporting products such as from our electrical and electronics sector, chemical products, palm oil products, rubber products, wood products, textiles as well as automotive parts and components.
“All of these represent major exports for Malaysia and generate huge amounts of revenue for our national economy and employ tens of thousands of Malaysians,” he said.
He added that Malaysia’s decision to subsequently sign on to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement would only be made after careful and extensive discussion with all stakeholders in the country, including presenting the agreement in Parliament for debate.
Meanwhile, the US-Asean Business Council has also voiced its support for the trade deal, which sees Asean countries making up 40% of the signatories.
The council’s president, Alexander Feldman, said the TPP would open opportunities for American companies in the 11 Pacific countries and create a level-playing field for US businesses looking to expand into what have been labelled the fastest growing markets in the world.
“The agreement will significantly and positively impact commercial relations between the United States and these important countries and is a critical component of America’s engagement with Southeast Asia in particular and with Asia more generally,” he said.