Experts warn of TPP-11 downsides for ASEAN countries and South Korea

Monday, February 25, 2019: Last month the eleven members of the now-operational Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership invited other interested states to join. So far, seven of the original eleven have ratified. Aspiring new members must have bilateral talks with each of the eleven founder members and all eleven would have to agree to their joining.

Eijas Ariffin, writing in the ASEAN Post, has warned that developing countries in the TPP-11 could lose out to the developed country exporters as zero tariffs extend to 95 per cent of traded goods: “According to the Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women (ARROW), it is the developed countries that will see the largest increase in domestic value-added exports instead”.

Ariffin warned Peru, Chile, Malaysia, and Brunei not to rush to ratify the agreement. Malaysia is actively assessing the compatibility of the TPP-11 with its national development strategy, and may decide not to ratify.

South Korea has been on the sidelines of the TPP process since talks began way back in 2008. Now it would have to accept the terms of the eleven members, rather than expect to negotiate for acceptance of its own interests. A professor of law at Seoul National University has concluded: “Simply, accepting all demands from as many as 11 key states would be probably unacceptable to South Korea. More so, given the slowdown of the national economy and deteriorating job market and a general election coming up.”