Monday, October 04, 2010

Najib, No Free Trade Agreements before transparent consultation with the people

Here we go again, Malaysian government is starting negotiations on yet another Free Trade Agreement...

It is essential that there is transparency on the proposed contents of the statement - and the people be given an opportunity to express their views and take part in the decision making process as to whether the Free Trade Agreement should be entered into or not.

At the AEPF (Asia European People's Forum), civil society groups have been sharing on the negative impacts of free trade agreements - especially to the ordinary people and workers in the lesser partners of a Free Trade Agreement - and Malaysia is certainly a lesser partner...

Malaysian government do not tell us about the impact of these agreements - are we ready to open the door to European businesses to come in and compete with Malaysian businesses. Are we ready for European made goods and products to come in and compete with Malaysian goods and products. Really, how many Malaysian companies have the capacity and the ability to enter and compete for business and markets for goods in the Europe... 
Have we not been trading with Europe as it is without any Free Trade Agreement? So, is there really any need or advantage for Malaysia to enter into such an agreement...What exactly is 'preferential access' to the European market.... surely others who also have free trade agreements also will get 'preferential access' to European markets... so, maybe the government needs to really explain what they mean...

ASEAN - why is Malaysia going on its own, ignoring the rest of the ASEAN community - it really goes against the entire spirit of ASEAN...

There really must be open disclosure of all Trade Agreements that Malaysia has entered everyone will be aware of it....not just a select few business cronies...Trade Agreements are even not disclosed and discussed in Parliament...

There were leaks with regard the US-Malaysia Trade Agreements...and the eyes of the people were opened, and there was protest....

No more Trade Agreements please...not without a transparent open consultation with the people of Malaysia.... remember the government is merely elected representatives of the people...and as such they should not be acting without the informed agreement of the people...

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is scheduled to launch the Europe-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement negotiations on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) next week in Brussels.

"We hope to officially launch the negotiations during the Prime Minister's visit to Brussels in conjunction with ASEM hosted by Belgium," said EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Malaysia Vincent Piket.

Najib will attend the two-day ASEM Heads of State and Government Summit in Brussels beginning Oct 4.

"Should the FTA agreement with Malaysia be successful, Malaysia will gain preferential access to the European Union, currently the world's largest market," he told Bernama in Kuala Lumpur.

With half a billion consumers in EU-member countries, Piket said it would be an attractive destination for Malaysian exports.

He said the FTA would pave the way for long-term and stable Malaysia-EU trade ties.

According to an analyst, should the FTA be successful, Malaysian business would gain more in the long-run especially in the wake of the economic slowdown.

The analyst said the catalyst may come from the potential for the FTA to rebuild the wealth that has been lost during the recent economic slowdown.

As Malaysia was gearing towards achieving developed nation status, Piket also said that it was timely for Malaysia to start the FTA negotiations to complement the country in achieving the goals of the New Economic Model (NEM).

He said the FTA was very much part of the NEM and emphasised the promotion of a business-friendly economy and increased private sector share in the Gross Domestic Product.

The envoy pointed that all this would attract trade, quality investment, capital, skills and know-how and the FTA with the EU would certainly contribute towards this objective, adding that trade and investment were crucial to global recovery and economic growth.

With the current deadlock in the World Trade Organisation Doha Round, he said Malaysia and the 27-member EU should expand bilateral trade.

Malaysia is EU's second largest trading partner in Asean after Singapore, clearly ahead of much larger countries like Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The EU, meanwhile, is the world's fourth largest trading partner and second largest source of foreign direct investment, he said.

Stressing that Malaysia was an important trading partner to the EU, Piket said some 2,000 European companies were currently operating in Malaysia.

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