KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 – Following are the latest Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) made available on the International Trade and Industry Ministry website. The following are questions and answers on the environment:
1. Why is there an Environment Chapter in a Free Trade Agreement?
To ensure environmental protection will not be jeopardised by trade and investment activities. Parties cannot be exempted from implementing its environmental laws to gain advantage and benefits from trade and investment activities.
2. Does this agreement affect the sovereignty of the states?
The Environment Chapter in TPP requires all parties to enforce all their environmental laws effectively. All Parties retain their rights to regulate and enforce their own environmental laws. For Malaysia as well as other countries, States environmental laws are exempted under TPPA.
3. Do we have to amend our environmental laws?
No. There will be no environmental laws that need to be amended in order to fulfil the obligations under the Environment Chapter. However, more resources may be required and administrative measures need to be taken in order to ensure effective implementation of this chapter.
4. What is the obligation of companies doing business in a country with higher standard of environmental regulation than their own?
Companies that decide to do business in any TPP country are expected to adhere to the environmental rules, regulations and standards required by that country.
5. Why is elimination of subsidy applied only to fisheries?
It is widely understood that subsidies on fisheries can affect and harm the fish stock. Subsidies on fisheries encourage fishermen to fish more often, hence lead to depletion of the fish stock due to overfishing. The Environment Chapter in TPP focuses on conservation and sustainable use of biological resources which includes marine fishes.
Therefore, elimination of fisheries subsidies is an important provision to ensure the sustainability of the fish stock. Notwithstanding this, certain subsidies to fishermen meant for poverty alleviation are allowed.