PSM condemns the underhanded tactic by the ex-Minister of International Trade and Industry, (MITI) Azmin Ali to have quietly sneaked out a letter to New Zealand, the CPTPPA Depositary, as an instrument for Malaysia to officially ratify the CPTPPA.
These trade agreements, since the US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement attempt by the Bush administration and later President Obama’s infamous Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement TPPA have been vehemently protested by the rakyat. There were massive protests against TPPA since 2010 when MITI started negotiations.
Even though the TPPA agreement was signed by the Najib administration in February 2016, but it remained unenforceable when the US, under Donald Trump, pulled out of the agreement in 2017. The USA move crushed MITI’s hopes that Malaysia would be able to increase its exports to the USA. But even the TPPA would have led to more imports than exports.
The CPTPPA is actually a rebranded TPPA with some provisions suspended that the Najib administration also signed in March 2018.
The recent Price Waterhouse Cooper Cost Benefit Analysis has gaps and many questionable claims of benefits. Without a truly comprehensive Cost Benefit Analysis done by Putrajaya after the US exit from the trade agreement, Malaysia only stands to lose if it pursues to ratify and implement the trade agreement. The CPTPPA would mean that;
- Our trade imports could increase to more than USD 2.billion a year compared to exports when import tariffs are brought down to zero percent.
- Job losses are expected when we are a flooded with imported products at more competitive prices compared to our local SME manufactured products.
- Increased imports of agricultural products will destroy the livelihood of our local agro food producers.
- CPTPPA requires that Malaysia signs up to the UPOV 1991 Convention that prohibits seed sharing amongst local farmers, making them beholden to large agro corporations to procure their seeds, fertilisers and pesticides.
- Wide power granted to foreign investors under CPTPPA that would tie the government hands to implement affirmative action to the rakyat.
- Corporations empowered to sue Malaysian government if we do not honor the rights given to their investment as per the CPTPPA.
Thus PSM joins the civil society organizations and the rakyat to reject the ratification of the CPTPPA and demand that Putrajaya immediately withdraws from this regressive trade agreement. It was extremely irresponsible of Minister Azmin Ali and MITI to submit the instrument for ratification days before the dissolution of Parliament, placing the burden on the new government to undo this betrayal to the rakyat.
We call on the all GE15 candidates to reject the CPTPPA and carry out all measures to leave the trade agreement once and for all.
Secretary General PSM
29 October 2022