Promoting SME growth through FTA


Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai.

THE Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) is urging the government to accelerate the ratification process and proceed with the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) at the earliest possible time.

This would enable Malaysia and its manufacturing sector, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), to optimise the lead time in securing markets ahead of the other competing signatories, says FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai.

He says FMM viewed the CPTPP as one of the more important new free trade agreements (FTAs) that is expected to provide competitive edge over regional competitors and build investor confidence in Malaysia.“Findings from the FMM-MIER Business Conditions Survey H1 2021 revealed that 54% of the respondents opted market expansion as the most popular business strategies in the next six months.

“As such, we firmly believe that the CPTPP will contribute significantly towards improving market access, expanding exports, increasing economic activity and enhancing employment especially as a critical trade tool to address the unprecedented challenges posed by Covid-19, ” he says in a statement.

The CPTPP is expected to create advantageous conditions for SMEs by eliminating tariffs on 96% of current Malaysian exports to CPTPP countries and providing enhanced access for service providers.

Soh says the CPTPP is among the first FTAs to have a separate chapter on SMEs to ensure the protection of small businesses in participating countries.

The dedicated SME chapter in CPTPP is designed to support the growth and development of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises by enhancing their ability to participate and benefit from the agreement. Provisions in the chapter also allow the government to take necessary measures in enhancing the capacity of local SMEs to take advantage of the agreement. — Bernama

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