Malaysia International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) Deputy Secretary-General (Industry) Datuk Seri Norazman Ayob stated that the country is planning to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement by the end of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022.
Malaysia with ASEAN member-states had signed the RCEP agreement in November 2020 during the virtual 37th ASEAN Summit.
MITI projected that RCEP will offer greater market access and wider integration into the supply chain for companies based in Malaysia, especially being the largest global free trade agreement of 15 countries and representing one-third of the world’s population. Between 2017 and 2020, RCEP countries have invested a total of MYR 104.6 billion (USD 25 billion) in manufacturing projects and employed around 91,268 Malaysians. Malaysia is required to complete its domestic procedures and submits the ratification instruments to ASEAN Secretariat for RCEP to come into force in 60 days.
Datuk Seri Norazman shared that key elements such as lower import duties, quality, the after-sales service, and the technological advantage will help the products to compete internationally and gain market access. He further remarked that Malaysia’s strategic location at one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and as a competitive regional hub will conveniently provide a gateway to ASEAN and beyond the region. The country can also offer an advanced manufacturing ecosystem, mature supply chain linkages, talented human capital, friendly business policies, and good infrastructure, such as logistics, banking, and telecommunication, as well as the diversity of languages.
Malaysian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which signify around 97% of Malaysia’s industrial base is also recommended taking advantage of government programs and initiatives to be prepared to be more resilient in the face of competition and IR4.0 global waves. MITI anticipated that there will be good market opportunities for homegrown companies specifically those in the electrical and electronics and semiconductor sector, as well as aerospace, halal, creative, and agriculture industries.