Seminar: The Impact of TPP on Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam



About the Seminar

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) was signed by twelve countries in February 2016.  Despite the extensive media coverage of the TPP, relatively few detailed country-level studies have emerged on the impact of TPP.  The objective of the seminar is to discuss and examine in greater detail the impact of the TPP on three Southeast Asian countries.  In the seminar, three distinguished country economists from the region will examine the potential short-run and long-run economic impact of the TPP on three Southeast Asian countries that are participating in the TPP, namely, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

To register, please please fill in this form and email to by 28 July 2016.



09:30 -10:00 am Registration
10:00 -10:30 am Reassessing Malaysia’s Export Opportunities in the TPP

  • Dr THAM Siew Yean, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute
  • Dr Andrew KAM Jia Yi, IKMAS, UKM
10:30 -11:00 am Are There Real Economic Gains of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Small-Open Economy? Case of Singapore

  • Dr Shandre THANGAVELU, University of Adelaide
11:00 -11:30 am Vietnam: Not Yet Ready for Reaping the Benefits of the TPP?

  • Dr VU THANH Tu Anh, Fulbright Economics Teaching Program
11:30 -12:30 pm Discussions

Programme Details

Reassessing Malaysia’s Export Opportunities in the TPP

Tham Siew Yean
Senior Fellow, ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

Andrew Kam Jia Yi
Fellow, Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

The main economic motivation for forging bilateral, regional and multilateral agreements for Malaysia is to enhance the export opportunities for its firms as it is relatively dependent on trade for supporting growth. There is an extensive literature on the Trans-Pacific Partnership since negotiations were started five years ago and this literature continues to grow after the agreement was signed in February 2016. The literature identifies some overall gains for Malaysia and some sectoral gains, including in textiles and apparel. The objective of this paper is to re-assess these export opportunities, using a comparative country perspective since the TPP has 12 founding members. It uses three main trade indicators, namely differences in exports shares, extensive and intensive margins to compare Malaysia with Vietnam, Malaysia’s main competitor for the US market as Vietnam, like Malaysia, also does not have an existing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US. All three indicators show that Malaysia is rapidly losing grounds against Vietnam in textile and apparel but maintains an advantage in the information, technology and communication (ICT) sectors. The paper also discusses the implications of these findings on the export opportunities for Malaysia’s firms under tariff liberalization in the TPP and closes with some policy suggestions.

Tham Siew Yean is a Senior Fellow at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. She was formerly Director and Professor at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. As an economist, she has served as a consultant to several national agencies in Malaysia and international agencies, including among others, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Asian Development Bank Institute. She has published extensively on foreign direct investment, international trade and trade policies, industrial development, and trade in services in Malaysia and ASEAN. She has a PhD in economics from University of Rochester, US.

Andrew Kam Jia Yi is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. He graduated First Class in Bsc. Economics specializing in Econometrics at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Msc. Economics from Warwick University, United Kingdom and PhD from the Australian National University (ANU). His research interests include international trade, industrialization and economic growth. He was the recipient of the Chevening Scholarship in 2005, Australian Endeavour Postgraduate in 2008 and the 2014-2015 Malaysian Fulbright Scholar Program.

Are There Real Economic Gains of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Small-Open Economy? Case of Singapore

Shandre Thangavelu
Regional Director (Southeast Asia), Centre for International Economic Studies
Institute of International Trade, University of Adelaide

Singapore is one of the 12 Asia-Pacific countries that signed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in February 2016. The key to TPP is the importance of market access and trade with U.S. and Japan, as these two countries form the “glue” and create the key returns in the TPP agreement. Given Singapore is a small-open economy and already have completed the key FTAs with US, Japan and the respective countries in the TPP, there might be little for Singapore to gain from TPP agreement. The presentation discusses the real and potential gains for small-open economies in TPP and the challenges it faces to benefit from the gains from trade and investment from TPP.

Shandre Thangavelu is currently the Regional Director (Southeast Asia) and Associate Professor at the Centre for International Economic Studies, Institute of International Trade, University of Adelaide, Australia. He is also the Director of Asia Growth Research Centre at University of Adelaide. Shandre Thangavelu is also a Research Fellow at Leverhulme Centre for Research on Globalization and Economic Policy (GEP), University of Nottingham. Dr Thangavelu is also appointed into the Governing Board for the Work, Safety, Health Institute (WSHI) of Singapore. He is also the member of the Competition Commission Appeal Board in Singapore. Dr Thangavelu was also appointed as the Managing Editor for Asian Economic Journal (AEJ) in 2009.  He is an active researcher on human capital development, technology transfer, foreign direct investment, trade, government infrastructure investment, productivity and economic growth. He has written extensively in ASEAN integration, FDI, human capital development, technology transfer and economic growth and has published his research in major international journals. He has written several books on trade, investment, integration and outsourcing in Asia. He has also worked on several international projects commissioned by UNDP, World Bank, ASEAN Secretariat, APEC, and Asian Productivity Organization (APO).  He obtained his graduate degrees from Queen’s University, Canada.

Vietnam: Not Yet Ready for Reaping the Benefits of the TPP?

Vu Thanh Tu Anh
Director of Research, Fulbright Economics Teaching Program

Vietnam has been predicted to be the largest beneficiary of the TPP in relative GDP gains and export growth. Among all the industrial sectors in Vietnam, textile and garment are expected to reap the biggest benefits. This presentation will provide an overview of the initial assessment of the impact of TPP in Vietnam, then go deeper into the analysis of the TPP impacts for the textile and garment industry. The presentation will point out that the quantitative analysis so far seems to overestimate the benefits of this industry, while not addressing distributional impacts of TPP, especially between the domestic and foreign enterprises. The ability of Vietnam’s textile and garment industry to take advantage of TPP depends on its ability to develop upstream industries and upgrade the supply chain as well as its capability to overcome the technical barriers of important markets such as the US, Japan and Canada.

Vu Thanh Tu Anh is the director of research at the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program in Ho Chi Minh City, and a senior research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Dr Tu Anh’s primary research interests include political economy, public finance, economic development, and industrial policy. As the Fulbright School’s research director, Dr Tu Anh leads the Fulbright School’s policy research and analysis efforts, coordinating research teams that often include faculty from both the Fulbright School and Harvard Kennedy School as well as Vietnamese policy analysts from inside and outside government. He teaches regularly in the Fulbright School’s executive education and policy dialogue initiatives with the Vietnamese government.  Dr Tu Anh has served as a member of the Board of Experts of the National Assembly’s Economic Committee and the Board of Experts of the National Finance Supervision Council. He is also a member of the Scientific Committee at Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City. Dr Tu Anh frequently comments on economic policy issues in the Vietnamese media. He is an op-ed columnist for the Saigon Economic Times, a leading economic and business journal in Vietnam. Dr Tu Anh received his PhD degree in economics from Boston College.


Jul 29 2016


9:30 am - 12:30 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2