'Consult all stakeholders before concluding TPP'

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The government should hold consultative sessions with national-level chambers of commerce and affected stakeholders before concluding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

In a statement yesterday, The Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) said an advisory committee system, like the US' be set up so that meaningful consultations could take place. 

"ACCCIM is of the view that the government needs to ensure the costs to Malaysia will not outweigh the benefits," it said. 

It said the idea of free trade was important to a trading nation like Malaysia, with possible main benefits to the Malaysian companies to expand market opportunities and for the country to attract foreign investments. 

However, TPP could interfere with the efficient supply chain developed in Asia if China remained excluded, it said.

"The TPP should also include the provision of special and differential treatment as provided in the World Trade Organisation to increase trading opportunities for developing countries," it said.

ACCCIM said the government must give due consideration to national interests over that of foreign, especially in non-trade-related issues. 

The TPP is a multilateral free-trade agreement that is currently participated by 12 countries with a combined market of 793 mil-lion people and gross domestic product of US$27.5 trillion (RM87.73 trillion). 

TPP would eventually be the largest free-trade bloc in the world and participating countries include some of the world's most robust economies, and represents more than 40 per cent of global trade.