Parti Sosialis Malaysia | December, 2017
Towards a peoples charter on international trade agreements
Malaysia is a trading nation. The value of our exports was RM 829 billion in 2016 or 69% of our Gross National Product (GDP). If one takes into account the value of imports of intermediate products that become components of these exports, one would find that about 33% of all value added in Malaysia is for the export market. Therefore trade is important to us as a nation and we would be preposterous for anyone to say that we should stop promoting trade with other countries!
However, many of us are deeply concerned about the adverse effects of the Free Trade Agreements that our Government has been gleefully entering into. It is becoming increasingly clear that these “Trade Agreements” are being used to insist on additional rules such as longer and stronger intellectual property protection that keeps medicines unaffordable for longer and stronger investor rights globally thus creating ever worsening income disparity and increasingly severe economic pressure on the bottom 60% of the population all over the world. Also these Trade Agreements have created a “regulatory chill” as governments are afraid to intervene with policies and program to help the marginalized sectors or protect the environment because the ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement) provisions in these Agreements give large foreign companies the right to sue governments in International Tribunals under various provisions such as “fair and equitable treatment” and the “expropriation” clause.