Responding to new market forces

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 22 Jan 2003

BY K.P. LEE in Shah Alam

NEW market dynamics are reshaping access to the global markets of tomorrow and businesses that do not realise the implications risk losing out, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz. 

In her keynote speech at the Asia Pacific Business Environment: Innovative responses to regional events conference in Shah Alam yesterday, Rafidah called on managers and entrepreneurs to fully comprehend the impact of the new forces at play in order to survive the developments, and benefit from them.  

She said a market that was no longer characterised by tariff protection had resulted in unprecedented challenges for businesses in the region. 

According to Rafidah, barriers to market access have shifted from tariffs, which are being removed in the process of global and regional liberalisation, to “new elements” including regulations on quality standards, sanitary measures and requirements, and environmental protection.  

“These are the new aspects that input into market competition that must be complied with in order to gain market access,” she said. 

“They not only require the necessary responses from businesses but dictate that they pre-empt them, and strategise in order for them to be ready for any eventuality.”  

According to Rafidah, the process of business globalisation and market openings has brought about new rules that were universally applicable and these required businesses to look at new strategies and business models. 

She stressed that businesses needed foresight and flexibility as there were no “standard text-book” approaches to responding to the new environment. “Market competition has become as non-specific as market boundaries have become academic,” she said. 

The ascension of China into the WTO and the consequent changes in China’s domestic business regime has also impacted the region significantly, she said.  

“The ‘China factor’ is now changing the flow and pattern of business investment and the profile of competition itself. It will be the single major factor affecting many business decisions,” she said.  

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