PETALING JAYA: The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) is urging Malaysian firms, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to leverage the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and grow their businesses.
ACCCIM president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap said the RCEP offers local companies the opportunity to enhance their business models and benefit from Asia’s supply chain, as well as diversified multilateral cooperation in trade, services and investment.
“SMEs must carry out research and integrate into the entire supply chain to carve new market segments, in addition to expanding existing ones, ” he said during the ACCCIM’s first RCEP Webinar Series yesterday.
Ter added that SMEs must not only be able to compete, but also safeguard against competition.
“To succeed, this requires a shift in business organisation and strategic thinking, which involves a reorientation of product and market development, the use of digital technologies and smart manufacturing to integrate, distribute and penetrate into the growing consumer markets, especially in China.”
The webinar, titled “How will RCEP increase the business opportunities for Malaysia and for you?” is aimed at helping business communities and individuals have a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges from the RCEP.
International Trade and Industry Ministry Deputy Secretary-General (Industrial Development) Datuk Sri Norazman Ayob, who was a speaker at the webinar, said the RCEP offers local firms market access to nearly a third of the world’s population.
“It offers intra-regional sourcing of raw materials at competitive prices.
“The RCEP also promotes greater transparency, information sharing, trade facilitation, economic cooperation, standardisation of rules relating to e-commerce and provides certainty in protection of intellectual property rights.”
He also said Malaysia plans to ratify the RCEP by the first quarter of next year, latest.
The RCEP, the world’s largest free trade agreement, was signed in mid-November 2020 by 10 Asean member countries and China, Japan, the Republic Of Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The Chinese government ratified the RCEP earlier this month. In February, the Japanese cabinet gave the green light for a bill to ratify the free trade deal.
After the agreement is ratified by six Asean members and three non-Asean signatory countries, the RCEP will come into effect.
Meanwhile, another speaker, Malaysian Investment Development Authority chairman Datuk Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, said the RCEP is an important catalyst for Malaysia to further strengthen its relationship with its neighbouring nations.
“The RCEP countries invested a total of RM104.6bil in manufacturing projects from 2017 to 2020, creating 91,268 job opportunities in Malaysia, ” he said.
Since its signing, Ter said the RCEP can provide the much-needed impetus for economies in South-East Asia and North Asia to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“By numbers, the RCEP, which connects 29.5% of the world’s population (2.3 billion), 28.2% of global gross domestic product (US$24 trillion), 27.2% of global trade (US$10.4 trillion) and 23.6% of global foreign direct investment flows (US$363.7bil), will generate significant economic, trade and investment gains.”