Trans-Pacific pact will give us the edge, says trade group

FMM president Soh Thian Lai says CPTPP can provide Malaysian companies a competitive edge over their regional competitors.

PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya should ratify the Trans-Pacific free trade agreement to help boost growth and exports during the current critical period caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said.

FMM president Soh Thian Lai said the agreement would improve market access, expand exports, increase economic activity and enhance employment.

He said the Trans-Pacific agreement was one of the more important new free trade agreements expected to provide a competitive edge over our regional competitors and build investor confidence in Malaysia.

He said the manufacturing sector had been hard hit with the production and supply chains of most companies being at a near standstill.

“Given that Malaysian manufacturers, in general, were only allowed to resume operations at full capacity in early May, FMM envisages business recovery, including export activities, to only start from six months onwards as Malaysian businesses gradually adapt to the new norm in dealing with Covid-19,” he said.

“Looking at the current situation, it’s imperative to stabilise the manufacturing production while further expanding market access for Malaysian exports.”

He said the ratification of the pact at the earliest date would boost the pandemic recovery process.

“We also look forward to the successful conclusion of other important FTAs, in particular, the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and the Malaysia-EU Free Trade Agreement,” Soh said.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a trade agreement among 11 countries that have potential access to a region of over 500 million consumers with a combined gross domestic product of US$10 trillion (RM41.95 trillion).