RCEP: The antidote M’sian economy needs

THE government should consider joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) to boost the nation’s economic recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic.

MCA International Communication and Diplomacy Bureau Chairman Tee Ching Seng said this will boost economic confidence, promote regional economic integration, and maintain stability of regional and global industrial supply chains.

“It can also demonstrate the region’s support for an open, inclusive, rules-based multilateral trading system,” he said in a statement.

RCEP is a free trade agreement between 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other Asia-Pacific economies, namely Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

These nations are expected to formalise the agreement which covers 30% of the global population next month.

China is with us

Tee said when China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi visited Malaysia recently, the leader reiterated the economic giant’s commitment to promote RCEP, particularly vis-à-vis the Belt and Road Initiative.

As talks went on, many Chinese enterprises expressed interest to invest in Southeast Asia (SEA) nations, especially Malaysia, according to Tee.

“Participating nations are looking at expanding the market and relocate production lines to SEA countries. Some large companies have begun setting up factories.

“However, considering issues of land availability, employment, policy and legal differences in the countries where the investment is located, some companies are still cautious.

“However, the progress made under RCEP talks will reduce investors’ concerns,” he said.

Tee further noted RCEP will play a vital role in the economic recovery of many nations post COVID-19 as it will promote the multilateral trading system, regional integration and the economic development of the entire region.

“It will become the biggest economic driving force in the post-pandemic era,” he added. – Oct 22, 2020

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