Friday, 8 January 2016

No to TPPA! (updated 11 January 2016)

Updated today 11 January 2016:

The Malaysian Cabinet should really call up Dr Jomo to give briefing to them on the effects of the TPPA and the obvious problems that it would cause our future generations:

TPPA will lead to greater inequality, job losses, says economist
The contentious Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will lead to greater inequality and net job losses over a 10-year period among member countries, said former senior United Nations official and renown economist professor Jomo K.S.

Economic gains from the United States-driven supra-trade pact would also be negligible at 3% over the span of 10 years for developing countries in the TPPA while developed countries would only see gains of less than 1% in the same period, he said.

Jomo said these findings were from a yet-to-be released UN study on the impacts of the TPPA which he had led. The full study uses the UN’s own global policy economic model (GPM) to anticipate the TPPA’s impact on its 12-member countries.

Speaking at a forum on the TPPA today, Jomo said the modest economic impact of the TPPA should force Malaysia to reconsider signing on to it, given that the pact could significantly alter the country’s ability to craft national policy.

This is since unlike previous trade pacts, the TPPA introduces new rules for how a country manages, among others, intellectual property rights, labour affairs and the operations of government-linked companies.

It also allows foreign investors to sue governments through the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism for loss of business and potential profits as a result of national policy decisions.

In his presentation, Jomo said these projections are due to how the TPPA would likely change economic activities in member countries.

“First, the production for export will partly replace production for domestic markets with negative consequences. Exports are less labour intensive and use more imported inputs than production for domestic markets.

“Second, businesses in participating countries will strive to become more competitive by cutting labour costs. This will have a negative effect on income distribution and weaken domestic demand,” Jomo said in his paper titled Why Parliament Should Reject the TPPA in the Public’s Interest.

Jomo was one of the speakers at the Malaysian Economic Association’s forum on the TPPA. Others include Bank Muamalat chairman Tan Sri Mohd Munir Majid, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Datuk Seri Saw Choo Boon and University Malaya law professor Prof Gurdial S. Nijar.

In his comments, Gurdial said the deal’s proponents claimed that the ISDS system had safeguards which prevent frivolous suits against governments.

But these safeguards still did not stop companies from suing several governments over policies which they claimed interfered with their ability to turn a profit.

In 2014, there were 608 governments that were sued under the ISDS primarily by US corporations, with 60% of those suits being against governments in developing countries, said Gurdial.

“We are now suspending bauxite mining operations because of public health and environmental hazards. Imagine with ISDS, if a foreign company was involved in mining and we stopped them, we could get sued.”

Gurdial questioned the impartiality of ISDS as it was an open secret that the judges who sit on these international arbitration tribunals are also lawyers who represent corporations suing governments. – January 11, 2016

Original Post:

Latest news:

TPP will be signed in Feb with or without Malaysia: Mustapa

I think better not sign.

I do not understand why this Najib Gomen is so keen to enter into an agreement which would surrender  our sovereignty to the US and the other big economies in the TPPA. Been talking in the coffee shops and warungs... I think majority Malaysian in the know does not see any benefit for Malaysia to enter the TPPA there will be many traps. Listen to what an internationally renowned Malaysian Economist has to say about the TPPA:

Read this also:

Malaysia should ditch Pacific trade pact – it will hurt trade with China, UN economist warns 

A 12-nation Pacific free trade pact pushed by the United States will not benefit Malaysia as it is meant to isolate fast-growing economic giant China, United Nations economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram said last night

Malaysia is currently in talks to ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) but there has been growing opposition to the deal due to its impact on procurement, medicines and business regulations in the country.

“The purpose of the TPP is to isolate China and you don’t want to do that to your main trading partner,” the prominent Malaysian economist said at the launch of his latest book in Kuala Lumpur.

The former University Malaya academic has worked as the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) since 2005.

Jomo said the trade agreement’s main purpose to isolate China became meaningless after the US narrowed its deficit against the Asian giant.

“The US dollar has devalued the last few years so the huge US deficit with China has closed,” he said after launching his book Malaysia@50 in Universiti Malaya.

“So now it’s yesterday’s problem. Why should we get stuck in such a policy and an agreement which was hatched up earlier?” he added.

The trade pact has been viewed as the US’s entry point into market dominance within Asia, which China sees as an attempt by Washington to overstep on the Chinese’ backyard.

The Wall Street Journal had quoted the former World Bank chief for China, Yukon Huang as saying the pact discouraged and complicated shipping of parts to and from Asian countries.

He pointed out the implication would affect China’s role as the final assembly point for electronic items whose parts are usually from other nations.

Jomo believed that instead of getting into trouble, the Malaysian government should be aware of the potential trade agreement between the US and the European Union.

“The bigger problem now is that the US and EU will come up with an economic NATO that’s going to weaken the WTO,” he said, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defence pact and the World Trade Organisation.

Jomo expressed concern that a trade pact between Western nations would affect Malaysia’s exports, in particular palm oil which competes with other vegetable oils including the popular soya oil in the US.

“That’s why we need to keep multilateral agreements,” the economist said, explaining that such agreements allow Malaysia to have more control over negotiating the terms.

He also reasoned that Malaysia’s trade negotiators are inexperienced to deal with such a complex agreement, placing the country at a losing end at the bargaining table.

At the centre of the protests against the TPPA is concern that it would destroy the local and smaller enterprises. The agreement has appeared more favourable to foreign established firms that would have the technology and skills to receive tenders. While the awarding of contracts appear merit based, many are worried that Malaysia got the worst end of the deal.

“If this was an APEC deal, we have partners that are negotiable,” said Jomo, referring to the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

“But with bilateral agreements, what power does Malaysia have against other countries?” he added.

Apart from the TPPA, Malaysia is also involved in the negotiations for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, another trade pact that includes China. It is between Southeast Asian nations, China, India, Australia, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. - October 3, 2013

....of course Dr M is dead against the TPPA too:

Read this post too by Prof. Madya Mohammad Agus Yusoff:


Prof. Mohammad Agus Yusoff jawab

SAYA menerima banyak permintaan dari sahabat supaya menulis tentang Perjanjian Perkongsian Trans-Pasifik atau Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement yang akan ditandatangani pada Oktober nanti. Pada mulanya saya tidak mahu menulis tentang isu ini kerana mahu serahkan kepada pakar ekonomi untuk menulis mengenainya. Tetapi apabila tidak ada ulasan yang saya harapkan, maka saya menulis juga untuk memberi pencerahan kepada kawan-kawan supaya kita semua tahu tentang inti Perjanjian ini dan kesannya kepada kita.

TPPA adalah perjanjian multilateral terikat yang melibatkan negara Asia Pasifik seperti Australia, AS, New Zealand, Kanada, Mexico, Chile, Brunei, Malaysia dan Vietnam. TPPA ini alah tentang liberalisasi pasaran di mana negara ahli bebas berniaga di pasaran negara ahli secara terbuka sesuai dengan konsep globalisasi.

Masalahnya dengan TPPA ini ialah semua perbincangannya dibuat secara rahsia dan semua teks perbincangan adalah rahsia sehinggalah selepas empat tahun perjanjian dimeterai. Ini bermakna perjanjian TPPA ini meletakkan rakyat dalam kegelapan, sesuatu yang cukup pelik dalam sebuah dunia terbuka tanpa sempadan.

Apabila ditanya mengapa dirahsiakan, jawapan kerajaan adalah standard: Perjanjian ini baik untuk negara kerana memudahkan barangan kita untuk memasuki pasaran luar. Persoalannya, jika TPPA begitu bermanfaat, mengapa teks perjanjian yang sedang dirundingkan tidak dibentangkan untuk pengetahuan umum? Mengapa perlu berahsia?

Saya tanyakan hal di atas kerana terdapat beberapa klausa dalam TPPA ini yang akan memberikan kesan yang cukup besar kepada rakyat dan negara dan cukup membimbangkan saya. Untuk maklumat ringkas, di bawah ini saya perturunkan beberapa kesan negatif yang perlu sangat kita ketahui:

i. Hampir 80% harga ubat akan menjadi mahal, sehingga mencecah 1000% dari harga sekarang. Ini kerana ubat generik yang lebih murah tidak boleh dijual lagi kerana Malaysia terikat menggunakan ubat patented (asli) yang dihasilkan syarikat famarkeutikal dari luar negara. Kesannya akan menyukarkan pesakit berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana kerana kos untuk mendapatkan ubatan menjadi sangat tinggi. Bayangkan jika seorang guru menghidap penyakit barah yang memerlukan ubat bernilai RM7000 sebulan, mampukah mereka untuk membayar kos perubatan semahal itu? Apakah nasib ramai rakyat di negara kita nanti?

ii. Syarikat gergasi akan bebas berniaga di negara kita menyebabkan usahawan-usahawan kecil terpaksa bersaing dengan syarikat gergasi dari luar negara. Ini seolah-olah meletakkan kepentingan syarikat asing mengatasi kepentingan rakyat kita. Ini juga seperti memberi kuasa kepada negara maju seperti AS, Singapura dan Australia untuk mencereboh ekonomi negara kita.

iii. Kerajaan boleh disaman oleh pelabur luar di tribunal antarabangsa yang berpangkalan di Washington dan Geneva jika terdapat dasar-dasar kerajaan yang boleh merugikan hak pelabur luar dan menghalang aktiviti perdagangan mereka. Ini tentunya menjejaskan bidang kuasa kerajaan dalam menentukan apa yang terbaik untuk rakyat dan negara.

iv. Petani kita terpaksa bersaing dengan hasil pertanian luar negara. Lebih merisaukan lagi ialah TPPA bakal memberi kesan buruk ke atas industri padi negara apabila beras dari AS yang menerima subsidi yang tinggi dipasarkan di negara ini. Ratusan ribu keluarga petani padi di negara ini akan terjejas jika TPPA dimeterai.

v. TPPA juga menyebabkan bidang pelaburan dan khidmat undang-undang dan pelbagai khidmat profesional tempatan yang lain terpaksa berhadapan dengan persaingan pasaran terbuka. Mampukah industri perkhidmatan kita berhadapan dengan kemasukan syarikat gergasi ini?

vi. TPPA melanjutkan perlindungan hakcipta bahan-bahan rujukan dari 50 tahun selepas kematian penerbit kepada 120 tahun. Ini bermakna segala bahan-bahan rujukan yang kini percuma dan telah didigitalkan akan menjadi terhad kepada pengguna. Ini juga bermakna segala bahan rujukan wajib dibeli atau wajib dibayar sewa, sekaligus menghadkan kemudahan ilmu kepada rakyat yang kurang mampu.

Justeru implikasi TPPA ini besar kepada rakyat dan negara, maka saya merayu supaya kerajaan mengambil tindakan berikut terlebih dahulu sebelum memetarai perjanjian ini. Antaranya:

i. Menangguhkan perundingan TPPA sehingga segala teks mengenainya didedahkan kepada rakyat untuk mendapatkan maklumbalas. Rakyat berhak tahu dan diberi hak memberi pandangan kerana perjanjian ini melibatkan kualiti hidup mereka.

ii. Ahli parlimen perlu diberi pencerahan dan perlu membahaskan baik buruk Perjanjian ini. Semasa membahaskan hal ini, ahli parlimen perlulah melihat Perjanjian ini dari aspek kebaikannya untuk rakyat dan negara, bukannya berterusan terikat kepada kepentingan parti.

iii. Kerajaan mesti menolak status layanan tempatan yang perlu diberikan kepada syarikat gergasi luar.

Saya akui TPPA ini ada baiknya untuk negara kerana kita bergantung kepada kemasukan pelaburan luar untuk memacu ekonomi negara kita. Namun, setelah mengamati kesan perjanjian ini, saya dapati perundingan TPPA ini perlu disemak semula dengan teliti oleh kerajaan kerana ia memberi kesan besar kepada rakyat. Sekiranya kerajaan mendapati keburukannya lebih banyak dari kebaikan, maka masih belum terlewat untuk kita menarik diri daripada Perjanjian ini.

Harapan saya cuma satu dari keputusan muktamad yang bakal diambil oleh kerajaan nanti: Jangan biarkan anak cucu kita tergadai melalui perjanjian yang bersifat globalisasi ini. Jangan biarkan menang sorak kampung tergadai.

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