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3 chambers say aye to TPP, but ACCCIM wants China included

Malaysia Chronicle

3 chambers say aye to TPP, but ACCCIM wants China included

18 July 2013

Chambers of commerce in the country have lent their support to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, saying it promotes a secure and mutually beneficial trade environment and brings greater opportunities for participating countries.

The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (AmCham), the Malaysia Canada Business Council (MCBC) and the Malaysia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (MNZCC) said governmental commitment to promoting free trade, while ensuring the success of the TPP negotiations in the current economic climate, is more crucial than ever.

"A firm and increasing commitment to the Asia-Pacific region via the TPP negotiations will allow companies to eliminate duplicative and unnecessary barriers," they said in a joint statement yesterday.

"The companies will also be able to streamline their operations across the board, and disseminate regional and international best practices, thereby, fostering an efficient and mutually beneficial trade environment.

"Obtaining such an outcome is important to ensure that the TPP lays an effective foundation for future regional integration and international trade," they added.

The three business bodies said under the proposed TPP, local small and medium enterprises can better integrate into the supply chains of multinational corporations, while adopting international standards and creating new opportunities for industries.

Foreign companies investing in TPP-participating countries will also benefit from the eased process of foreign direct investments.

However, in a separate statement, the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said the TPP agreement (TPPA) should include China in the negotiations in order to build a promising free trade environment in Asia-Pacific.

"TPPA could interfere with the efficient supply chain developed in Asia if China remained excluded."

The chamber also urged the government to hold consultative sessions with national-level chambers of commerce and affected stakeholders before concluding the TPPA.

ACCCIM said an advisory committee system like the US should be set up so that meaningful consultations could take place.

"ACCCIM is of the view that the government needs to ensure that the costs to Malaysia will not outweigh the benefits," it said. "The TPPA should also include the provision of special and differential treatment as provided in the World Trade Organisation to increase trading opportunities for developing countries."

ACCCIM added that the government must give priority to national interest over commercial interest in terms of non-trade-related issues.

The TPPA is a free trade initiative involving 12 countries and an agreement is currently being negotiated in Kota Kinabalu.