16 Jul 2013 07:54

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 (Bernama) -- The government has not made any decision on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which is currently underway in Kota Kinabalu, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

"It is still at the discussion stage, but nothing is definitive yet," he said when met at Parliament lobby here today.

The TPPA is an agreement that the United States, as the leading negotiator, is hoping to ink to consolidate its role in developing a broader platform for trade liberalisation, particularly throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Malaysia is currently negotiating with 11 other countries to conclude the TPPA, a multilateral trade agreement involving Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, Peru and Singapore, apart from the U.S.

Mustapa said the government would ensure that its sovereignty and national interest were protected and would take into account public views, including those who protested against it, before making any decision on the TPPA.

"If it is damaging to the national interest, of course, we will not sign it. What is most important, the national sovereignty, the rule of law and the federal power must be defended," he said.

Mustapa said this was because the agreement seemed to benefit foreign multinational companies, including in suing the government if the country's law was not in their favour, apart from impeding the development of local companies.

The 18th round of negotiation is expected to conclude on July 25 with the final agreement expected to be inked in October.