Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mustapa: TPPA needs to be tabled in Parliament by mid-January

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) document needs to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat by mid-January, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He explained Malaysia could not go beyond the first two weeks of 2016 to decide whether to sign the agreement or not.

"But next week, there is the tabling of the national budget, so, we cannot disturb that process.

"Of course, I will have to discuss with the Speaker to get an appropriate date (for the tabling of the TPPA)," he told reporters after giving a talk on the TPPA during the ministry's Free Trade Agreement Outreach Programme on Thursday.

Negotiations on the TPPA concluded on Oct 5 in Atlanta, the United States and the text of the document would likely be available at the end of this month.

The TPPA negotiations, which were first launched in 2005, involves 12 countries -- Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

Mustapa said the TPPA was the most controversial agreement, which required the government to go all out to explain the pros and cons of the agreement.

He said at the moment, general discussions were based on speculation.

Although there would be more certainty on the agreement once the document was out, the government would still be required to carry out another round of discussion to explain it, he added.

"Even before MPs (members of parliament) can make informed judgments on the TPPA, the people need to be educated on what it is all about," noted the minister.

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