US woos Malaysia in TPP talks
Updated: 2013-10-11 15:42
KUALA LUMPUR - US Secretary of States John Kerry said his country is open to the calls by Malaysia to be flexible in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, in a bid the push for the conclusion for the trade pact talks, local media reported Friday.
Kerry was quoted by Malaysia's national news agency Bernama as saying that his country was "prepared to be both flexible and creative" in order to help other TPP countries be able to meet the requirements of the comprehensive trade agreement.
"I really look forward to working with our partners in Malaysia in order to finalize that agreement by the end of the year," he added.
The US senator, who arrived in Malaysia for visit after attending a regional summit in Brunei, said TPP would further elevate ties between Washington and Kuala Lumpur on the basis of a very strong economic relationship.
TPP is considered as part of the economic pillar of the "Pivot towards Asia" by US president Barack Obama. The negotiators have failed to conclude the deal by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali earlier this week, after Obama cancelled his Southeast Asia trip due to government shutdown.
The lack of transparency during the negotiations and the high standard of the agreement have raised concern in some TPP countries as many feared that the agreement might be used by more developed members to open up the domestic markets of the less developed ones. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad were among the most vocal of those who against the deal.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak made a strong stand in defending Malaysia's position in TPP talks during the APEC summit, saying his country would not be bound by any deadline. He also said Malaysia would not be a mere "yes man" as his government's priority would always be to protect the country's sovereign rights and welfare of the people.