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KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia will not be bound by any fixed timeline with regards to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
At a special meeting convened today, the Cabinet made this stand as a number of issues, including that of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) or government-linked companies, labour and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), remained unresolved.
The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) said in a statement, it had informed the Cabinet that engagement with all stakeholders would be intensified, prior to concluding the TPPA negotiations.
Miti is currently discussing with various stakeholders on the format and framework of further engagement.
The Cabinet, it said, was very supportive of more transparency in the negotiation process.
The meeting was part of the ongoing process by Miti to update and seek a fresh mandate from the Cabinet on the TPPA.
According to Miti, all lead negotiators from the various ministries presented their respective progress in negotiations and the challenges ahead.
"The Prime Minister and Cabinet directed negotiators to continue ensuring that Malaysia’s sovereignty is defended in the course of the TPPA negotiations.
"They are unanimous over reinforcing Malaysia’s position that we will only agree to the TPPA on terms that are most favourable to the country," Miti said.
The Cabinet has also agreed to two more Cost Benefit Analyses (CBAs).
It will focus on the interest of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Bumiputera business community as well as a comprehensive analysis on national interests.
"The two CBAs will provide added input for our negotiators," Miti said.
It also said that on the issue of IPR, the Cabinet was unanimous that Malaysia not agree to any proposal that would deny access to affordable medicines and healthcare.
"The Cabinet is firm in ensuring access to affordable medicine remains its utmost priority, which will not be compromised in the ongoing TPPA negotiations.
"It also took note of the request to exclude tobacco and tobacco products from the TPPA," Miti added. -- BERNAMA