The latest round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations involving Malaysia and 11 other countries including the United States began on 3 July and will continue until 12 July 2014 in Ottawa, Canada.
According to news reports, the chapters that will be negotiated there include: investment, services, intellectual property, tariffs on goods and exceptions such as for health including tobacco control and the environment.
The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) is deeply concerned by the provisions that have been agreed to in the leaked TPPA investment chapter. Foreign investors have successfully challenged laws on health, environment and other crucial public interest areas in other countries that have signed similar treaty provisions. Those cases have even shown that when the foreign investor breaks the law of the country it is operating in and it is punished as allowed by the host country’s law, the foreign investor can still sue the host government under these treaties and win.
The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) is concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations are going full steam ahead.
There will be a meeting of negotiators including the chief negotiators of TPPA countries to be held in Canada from 3-12 July, 2014. We urge the Malaysian government to stand firm on all its positions during this negotiating round and to strengthen its positions further, in line with the Red Lines on the issues which civil society organisations including CAP have drawn up and submitted to the government.
We understand that at the round in Canada, the issues likely to be negotiated include intellectual property (IP), investment, state owned enterprise (SOEs) and possible exceptions for tobacco control. Each of these issues is very sensitive in which there are high stakes for Malaysia.
In the current negotiations of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement involving Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam, the USA has made proposals in the Electronic Commerce chapter. The next round of TPP negotiations where this is likely to be discussed starts on 12 May, 2014 in Vietnam. Since the negotiations are secret, we only have news reports of what the USA has proposed. These include free flow of information across borders and no local server requirement.
Countries may have a number of reasons why they want to keep sensitive data locally where it can be protected under their domestic privacy laws. This could be citizens’ taxation data, healthcare records, financial information, etc.
Obama’s visit did not give any new assurance that Malaysia’s demands will be met
CAP is concerned that despite the lack of any signs that the United States of America is able to guarantee it can stand by any deal made in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), the negotiations on the TPPA are going full steam ahead these next two weeks.
CAP calls for Malaysia to withdraw from the TPPA
As President Obama arrives in Malaysia tomorrow (26 April), the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) reiterates our call on the Prime Minister not to make any concessions on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) being negotiated between Malaysia, the USA and 10 other countries. This is imperative.