On the 15th of January IDEAS held a public workshop on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the CPTPP. The workshop saw the launch of IDEAS Brief entitled “CPTPP: The Case for Ratification” where author and IDEAS Director of Research, Laurence Todd, presented the brief in front of a sizable audience at Intercontinental Kuala Lumpur.
The brief argues for rapid ratification of the CPTPP in that the deal will bring benefits that merit ratification. This is now further strengthened by the fact that the deal is now in force in six countries – and from the 15th of January onwards in Vietnam, opening up the risk that new trade and investment opportunities are redirected to Vietnam. More broadly, Laurence argued that some opponents of CPTPP want to retain pursue state-led, protectionist policies which are not in Malaysia’s long-term interest. Ratification of CPTPP would, therefore, send an important signal about Malaysia’s ongoing openness to trade and investment.
In line with talks of open trade, the workshop also hosted Dr Chris Lingle from the Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala. Dr Lingle presented moral and ethical arguments behind free trade and the pitfalls of protectionism.
Speaking at the workshop Ali Salman, CEO at IDEAS said that: “The benefits of CPTPP are significant and the deal should be ratified on that basis alone. There are legitimate concerns but they are addressed by the various exceptions included in the agreement. More important though is that the government demonstrates it is committed to a coherent economic strategy based on trade, investment and entrepreneurship, rather than the old model of patronage and preferences. Ratification of CPTPP would put the government on the right path.”