KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, the country’s chief Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) “salesman”, was in his element as the special parliamentary sitting on the proposed trade pact got under way.
When words were not enough, the International Trade and Industry Minister used an array of props to drive home his points.
Tabling the motion at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Mustapa took lawmakers by surprise when he held up a spring coil, a cable, a pair of long pants and gloves.
“This pair of pants now has 20% tax imposed. Once TPPA comes into force, there will be no tax imposed,” he pointed out.
He said three main industries – electrical/electronics, textile and automotives – would benefit from TPPA.
Mustapa said Malaysia decided to join TPPA as the nation did not have any free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, Canada, Mexico and Peru, adding that TPPA would pave the way for local companies to penetrate the huge US market.
“The import duty for electrical and electronic items from Malaysia to penetrate the US market is 5% on average.
“With TPPA, the duty for 99.8% of electrical and electronic products will be lifted. This will benefit our companies to increase their investments,” he said, adding that import tax on textile products would be cut by 70% in the first year itself.
He said the Government also felt that Malaysia, despite not being a big player in the automotive industry, had the potential to go further under TPPA.
“By abolishing the duty and rules of origin which require automotive makers to receive input from TPP countries, these (automotive) components can be exported to countries like Canada, the United States and Mexico. This will increase job opportunities.”
He also dismissed allegations by some TPPA critics who claimed that some states would not be able to declare Friday as a weekend.
“There are those who said TPPA will force shops to remain open from noon to 3pm on Fridays and may be fined if they are closed.
“Clearly, these are allegations by individuals who do not understand TPPA at all,” said Mustapa, who noted that TPPA involved 12 countries, including Islamic nations such as Brunei.
He said Malaysia had been given the green light to continue using the halal certification system acknowledged by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department.