MALAYSIA will decide through consensus whether to proceed with the trade deal under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without the United States, says Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan.
He said it would be a waste if the TPP did not materialise.
“So, ministers from the 11 nations are trying to find a way to introduce it without US involvement. It is being discussed at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and I cannot say there will be a final decision on the matter, but we hope to find a new direction.
“The decision is not ours alone, we have to see the decision of all the 11 nations involved,” he said during his winding-up speech at the policy stage of the Budget 2018 debate.
However, Ong noted that there were challenges involved in forming a consensus, which included the differing attitude of countries on whether to include the United States in the TPP negotiations.
“I have met with the Canadian and Mexican ministers. Since their countries share borders with the United States, their visions are different from Japan, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand.
“Canada and Mexico may have to be more careful when deciding on this. They would not want to do something that could potentially affect their relations with the United States,” he added.
Ong said the proposed amendments to the laws to allow TPP to be implemented in Malaysia would still be brought to Parliament.
If the proposals are passed, they would help prepare Malaysia to take part in other future negotiations even if the TPP fails, he said.