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Memoranda/Appeal Letters:


Memorandum to the US Embassy On Global Day of Action against FTAs APRIL 11, 2013

Online Publication Date: 18 April 2013

MEMORANDUM TO THE US EMBASSY

On Global Day of Action against FTAs

APRIL 11, 2013

'NO' TO THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT

In solidarity with groups all over the world participating in the Global Day of Action against FTAs, Gabungan Rakyat Membantah FTA submits this memorandum to the Embassy of the United States of America to express its members’ grievances and concerns with the substance as well as manner of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Touted to be the standard-setting 21st Century Agreement, the TPPA purports to be a regional trade agreement between 11 countries of the Pacific Rim: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Viet Nam.

But the TPPA has come under scrutiny for having very little to do with trade and very little to do with the interests and welfare of the almost half-a-billion people in whose name it is being signed: Investment measures being pushed in the U.S.-led negotiations would allow foreign investors to move capital “freely and without delay” into and out of TPP countries while restricting the ability of TPP governments to regulate the flow of capital as part of a broader menu of policy options to prevent and mitigate financial crises. International financial institutions such as the IMF have come to agree that capital controls can stem dangerous asset bubbles and currency appreciations and that nations should have the autonomy to make monetary policy to protect their economies from the dangers of abrupt capital flight. But nearly all U.S.-led FTAs and investment treaties – such as the TPPA – prevent countries that sign them from using capital controls even during times of financial crises and economic crises, and even though capital controls were among the tools that helped Malaysia survive the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

  • A leaked U.S. draft of the Investment Chapter has shown that investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses are being pushed for in the TPPA. This would allow foreign investors to sue TPPA governments for damages at international arbitration tribunals if a law, policy, regulation or action is seen as having harmed their investment. This can adversely affect – and past cases have shown to have had adverse effects on – the ability of governments to act in the public interest by regulating foreign investments without being challenged against doing so by the threat of legal suits for damages or compensation.
  • About 80% of the medicines that Malaysians consume are generic medicines, which are generally much cheaper and thus more affordable than ‘original’, patented medicines. In Malaysia, patented medicines can be 1,044% more expensive than their generic equivalents. With U.S. proposals for the TPPA (such as expanded patent protection, patent term extensions, patent linkages, eliminating safeguards, biased procedural requirements, data exclusivity and border measures), access to affordable, life-saving medicines for millions of people is under threat as they seek broader and longer patent protection and monopoly even when there is no patent, making it harder for generic companies to produce affordable generic medicines. This would lead to delays and restrict the access of Malaysians to affordable generic medicines.
  • The regulatory coherence and transparency chapters focus on process, evidence, documentation and participation by industry stakeholders, with the former being in favour of light-handed regulation. When read together with provisions in other chapters on domestic regulatory decisions, the meaning of the TPPA reaching further ‘behind the border’ than any previous agreement becomes very clear. The general thrust of the proposals would impose constraints on governments’ policy decisions at the domestic level and reduce their regulatory options, while providing more opportunities for foreign players, their allies and their patron states to play a bigger role.
Due to the above reasons – and many more not cited – civil society and even elected representatives have many times decried the outrageous secrecy and lack of transparency that have plagued FTAs generally and the TPPA, in particular. But rather than address and remedy such problems and the lack of democratic participation and genuine consultation, the U.S. and its negotiating partner governments have signed confidentiality agreements to withhold the disclosure of the negotiating texts.

Therefore,

We reject investment provisions that restrict the ability of governments to act – whether over capital controls, environmental policies or other public interest measures – without being exposed to the threat of legal suits by investors. We reject ISDS, in particular, and insist on the integrity and supremacy in TPPA countries of their domestic legal and judiciary systems.

We reject all TRIPS-plus intellectual property (IP) provisions such as patent term extensions, data exclusivity, border control measures and others that negatively affect access to affordable medicines.

We reject all proposals in general that negatively affect access to environmental and climate-friendly technological solutions, threaten food security as well as the access to and sustainable use of our rich biological biodiversity and access to knowledge.

We demand an end to the secrecy that has shielded the TPPA negotiations from the scrutiny of national lawmakers and the public.

Signed by

1) Anti FTA Coalition (Gabungan Rakyat Membantah FTA)

2) Positive Malaysian TreatmentAccess & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+)

3) Monitoring Sustainability of Globalization

4) Persatuan Cahaya Harapan Negeri Kedah/Perlis.

5) Persatuan Kebajikan Komuniti Iklas Malaysia.

6) myPlus.

7) Socialist Party Of Malaysia (PSM)

8) National Union of Bank Employees

9) Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu (MTEM)

10) Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia. (ABIM)




 

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