The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is confident that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will contribute significant market access for Malaysian companies, enabling new value chains, increasing economic activities, and strengthening supply chain links across the Asia Pacific.
FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said although Malaysia has implemented regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand (ASEAN+1 FTAs) through regional intergovernmental organisation ASEAN, the RCEP will see the integration of the FTAs into a single, cohesive trade and investment architecture in the region. “Therefore, we greatly welcome the signing of the RCEP which is timely and fully supported by Malaysian businesses. “Under the RCEP, the existing Asean+1 FTAs will be streamlined and greater market access commitments will be made while gaps in the existing agreements will be reduced to create a competitive economic area,” he said in a statement today.
Tan Sri Soh added that it was important for Malaysia and its Asean counterparts to ensure ratification by all the signatories by early next year so that the RCEP is able to come into force to benefit businesses in this unprecedented time of need.
As for Malaysian companies, he said beyond the lowering of trade barriers, the RCEP is expected to attract foreign companies keen on entering into an integrated Asean market as the agreement will enhance transparency in trade and investment. He noted that the trade pact would also facilitate advanced technical cooperation through digitalisation and smart manufacturing which will assist Malaysian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing more innovative and competitive products to enable greater inclusion in global and regional supply chains. He said it was imperative to stabilise manufacturing activities in order to mitigate economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic while diversifying supply chain connectivity across the region.