Free trade is what the name itself implies. A trade that is free. A simple explanation for free trade is like a market where traders can sell whatever they want, regardless of the amount, to whomever they wish to sell to, without having to bear taxes or be restricted under government policies. By committing to free trade policies, governments do not discriminate against imports or interfere with exports by applying tariffs (to imports) or subsidies (to exports) or quotas.
In theory there should be nothing wrong with free trade. In fact, through comparative advantage, goods are made cheaper, and there would be a higher amount of goods produced , with addition of variations in production. What the heck is comparative advantage? Read that yourself.
People should start reading before they agree to protest against something. Associating capitalism with the evil Satan while not knowing what capitalism itself is, for example, is plain bigotry. Naming liberalism as a heretic West ideology, without even knowing the basis of liberalism is not what intellectuals do; it is not what people with brains should ever practice. Regarding TPPA , just because the media overhyped it as a bad thing, that does not mean that we should jump into the bandwagon and protest against it .
To cut it short , TPPA or Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is an agreement of free trade. Countries which signed this agreement are entitled to deregulate their trade policies when dealing with foreign firms from other signatory countries. That would reduce import tariffs and loosen environmental and safety regulations previously restricted upon imports. This will obviously encourage investment and increase the volume of both imports and exports in a country. An increase in foreign investment and demand for exports would bring to an increase in job opportunities and therefore reduce unemployment. In what way is this TPPA bad? Please ignore the nuances of reports in the net that employs a rather negative tone about TPPA without even trying to explain about it.
Sorry for being so boring. I don't know how to make this fun.
I am an advocate for free trade. If the Malaysian government actually trusted in free trade, my father and his neighbours would have bought Mercedes and Bentley instead of those mysterious local cars-haha- because free trade is the exact opposite of protectionist policies that Mahathir loved so much. Excise duties would be reduced, quotas would be removed and imported cars would be so much cheaper. The same goes for all imported goods which appear expensive , while the actual cost is less than half the price.
The problem with TPPA is that the agreement undermines the voice of the people who voted for the government. If Malaysia joins TPPA, the government would have to conform to deregulation, and this is made without the people's consent. Environmental laws would be inapplicable to foreign laws, as they have obtained the 'right for free trade'. Firms can even demand compensation if domestic environmental policies are applied to them. Frankly, there is no way those hundreds of thousands of Malaysians who protested against Lynas , those who stood up against industrial pollution would ever support this agreement. To add to that , if Malaysia wishes to amend their policies to make them applicable against those foreign firms, we would require the agreement of all signatory countries to make it happen. In other words , should the people demand for better control upon pollution , there is no way the government could impose such laws upon those invincible firms.
To make it simpler, if a foreign firm pollutes a river in Malaysia, and our environmental laws demand them to pay for the damages, the firm can sue our government for compensation, because they were denied of 'potential future profits' . This is just so wrong , it doesn't even make sense anymore.
If a foreign firm build their factories here , domestic laws would again be inapplicable against their operations. Under TPPA, investors are given rights to procure land, resources, build factories ,or anything else they invested in. It doesn't matter that they are given rights to explore our resources, but to give them protection against safety and environmental laws is not something reasonable.
The lack of regulation would mean that imported goods would undergo less safety and health checks. Therefore ,even if imported food from signatory countries contain elements that make people dumb or grow extra limbs, we would just bring them in , in the name of free trade.
TPPA grants too much freedom for investors and foreign firms. While it's true that free trade would bring in more job opportunities and economic growth, there is no reason to give foreign firms the rights to violate our resources and pollute our lands as they see fit.
Forgive my exaggerations. Correct me if I am wrong.