“The Re-engineering of Free Trade Agreements Framework as a Strategic Platform in the Creation of a ‘˜Green Revolution’ Culture”
8th October 2010
The proposed Malaysia-EU FTA and the PCA negotiation should not be rushed as several contentious areas have not been ironed out (“18 Months To Sign Trade Pact with EU”, NST- 7 October 2010 at page 2). Negotiation efforts require time for quantitative and qualitative analysis and not fixed deadlines. The Malaysia-USA FTA is a case in point and should be used as a major document of reference in the current FTA and PCA negotiations with the EU.
From Malaysia’s Green Tech perspective, the major area of focus should be on the creation of world class green technologies and the ultimate transfer of such technologies for local implementation. The mere injection of foreign FDIs and current technology lock-up mechanisms are acknowledged to be unsustainable and unbeneficial for Malaysia in the foreseeable long-term period. This should be looked into and examined carefully by Malaysia’s FTA representative.
FTA is all about granting preferential access to domestic market with a view to achieve certain commercial interests. This should not be at the expense of local industrial sectors of all levels specifically the merging green tech market.
Malaysia has penned many FTAs but regrettably, many of these FTAs are either dormant or found to be unrealistic in the light of current market upheavals which have evolved beyond the boundary of the FTAs platform.
In the light of commercial mega-trends, there is a need for a strategic revision of all current FTAs to refocus on the research and development of green tech in Malaysia :
Malaysia -Japan EPA (MJEPA),
ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA),
ASEAN-Japan Close Economic Partnership Agreement (AJCEP),
ASEAN Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) and
the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA).
All of these FTAs/EPAs unfortunately have not seen nor produced full synergy along national energy and industrial policies and for that matter, the integration of high impact green technology, creation of green IP value, management and marketing emphasis cannot be realistically achieved.
Taking into view the possible disastrous impact of past and proposed FTAs on the domestic market, strategic negotiation of all major points of reference must be treaded with care to ensure clear integration of foreign investment, intellectual property protection, competition policy components for Malaysia’s strategic commercial advantage for the creation of a Green Industrial Revolution in Malaysia.
FTAs and EPAs will forever remain meaningless on papers unless there is real participation not just from MNCs but and the supporting SMEs sector. To elevate Malaysian ‘˜Green Industrial Revolution’ to the next level, there is an urgent need for industry players especially SMEs ‘”apart from MNCs'”and local stakeholders to undertake serious study of all FTAs Agreements to take advantage of major area of commercial benefits in the light of grave neglect, ignorance and unfamiliarity of such FTAs/EPAs by local exporters, businessmen, service providers, and investors.
Jeong Chun phuoc
and an advocate in Strategic Environment and Taxation Intelligence(SETI)
He can be contacted at Jeongphu@yahoo.com