Lack of clarity and info on TPP a major concern: Page 3 of 3
By Gabey Goh July 24, 2013
To Brunei and beyond
With the 18th round of negotiations wrapped up in Kota Kinabalu, Japan also made its official debut as the 12th member on July 23.
A contingent of over 100 registered Japanese journalists were on site to mark the occasion and with the new member nation now able to fully join the free trade discussions in the next round, all eyes have turned to Brunei.
According to a report by Japan Times, sources have shared that TPP members are considering holding the next round of talks in Brunei in late August.
The next round was to be held in September, but negotiations on removing tariffs have run into trouble along with Japan’s entry, prompting the new date.
From conversations DNA had with stakeholders at Kota Kinabalu, it is understood that certain chapters in the TPP have already been finalised and the agreement is scheduled to be signed by all member countries by the end of this year.
One stakeholder noted: “We all know what’s at stake, but what we don’t know are the actual details of what’s being negotiated, which makes it hard to raise informed objections and highlight potential implications, until after the fact.”
On the Malaysian side, in a nod to the increasing volume of concerns raised by civil society groups, business chambers and political parties, MITI will be hosting an open day to address them.
In a statement issued on July 18, MITI said: “Although the ministry had held many rounds of meetings with the stakeholders, MITI admits many other issues still need to be explained to the public.”
The open day is slated to be held on Aug 1 with negotiators representing Malaysia expected to give further details on related issues, share developments from the latest round of negotiations, and get feedback on the issues negotiated.