KUALA LUMPUR : The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) took five years and 19 rounds of negotiations before it was concluded on Oct 5, 2015.
The deal is aimed at freer trade by reducing tariffs, improving markets access and setting common ground for labour and environmental standards and intellectual property protections.
The twelve countries namely Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam represent 40 per cent of the world economy.
The following are the chronology of events leading up to the signing of the TPPA:
*2006: Started off as the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement with four countries namely New Zealand, Singapore, Chile and Brunei.
*2008: In March, the United States joined the negotiations and 10 months later, Australia, Peru and Vietnam followed suit.
*2009: In March, the first negotiation was scheduled for the new pact that included four more countries bringing the total number to eight. However, the negotiations were postponed due to the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
*2010: The first round took place in Australia in March where parties exchanged views and agreed to gather information and draft papers as well as discuss the participation of more countries.
The second round of negotiations took place in San Francisco, California, June the same year whereby parties discussed the agreement architecture and the relationship between the TPP and the existing free trade agreements (FTAs).
In the same month, the third round of negotiations took place in Brunei, whereby Malaysia joined as the ninth member of TPP. The fourth round of negotiations was held in Auckland, New Zealand, with the focus on creating the text for individual TPP chapters.
*2011: TPP kicked off its fifth round of negotiations in February in Santiago, Chile. Between March and December another five rounds of negotiations took place respectively in Singapore, Vietnam, Chicago, Peru and Kuala Lumpur.
*2012: Dallas, Texas, hosted the 12th round of negotiations in May. In the same year, the 13th, 14th and 15th round of negotiations took place in San Diego, California, Leesburg, Virginia, and Auckland, New Zealand, respectively.
During the 15th round, Mexico and Canada entered the negotiations.
*2013: The 18th Round of TPP negotiations took place in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Japan formally joined the TPP negotiations on July 23 the same year. The 19th and final round of negotiations took place in Brunei.
Thereafter, TPP leaders, ministers as well as chief negotiators held various meetings to iron-out and finalise the agreement over a period of two years.
*2015: On Oct 5 in Altanta, TPP ministers announced that they had concluded TPP negotiations and a full text of the agreement, consisting
30 chapters, were made public soon after.
On Nov 18, the leaders of 12 countries sealed the TPP free trade initiative in the Philippines on the sidelines of a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
In Malaysia, the results of a cost-benefit study by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies and PricewaterhouseCoopers on the impact of the TPP was uploaded on the website of the Ministry of International and Trade Industry on Dec 3.
*2016: The text of the TPP Agreement (TPPA) was tabled in the Malaysian Parliament on Jan 26. Among the 12 nations involved in the TPPA, only Malaysia had brought the TPPA to Parliament for approval before it was signed. After two-days of intense debate, both the Dewan Negara and the Dewan Rakyat approved a motion allowing Malaysia's participation in TPPA.
Today, along with the 11 other countries, Malaysia signed the TPPA in Auckland, New Zealand. The 12 countries are given two years to ratify the agreement before it comes into force in 2018.