KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will serve as an important instrument for economic recovery, and will encourage the reopening of markets while ensuring uninterrupted supply chains.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the RCEP agreement is critical for the region’s response in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the pandemic has not only costed lives, it has also battered economies.
“Coupled with the challenges to the global trading system due to regional tensions, it is imperative for ASEAN to continue to sustain our competitiveness as a region,” he said in his speech during the virtual 4th RCEP Summit hosted by Vietnam today.
Muyhiddin said Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are the way forward to help sustain competitiveness through promotion of international trade, encouraging investments and ensuring supply of talent.
As such, he said the RCEP will be the main vehicle through which regional economic integration within ASEAN and its dialogue partners can be enhanced.
“It is indeed significant that this partnership has been negotiated based on the different levels of economic development of the 15 participating countries, to ensure a mutually beneficial FTA for all.
“I believe this is the touch stone for the future growth and vibrancy of our regional economic collaboration,” he said.
He added that Malaysia, together with ASEAN and FTA partners, would want to demonstrate to the world that even with varying levels of economic development, 15 countries can come together to create a trade pact that will be mutually beneficial, not only for the business community, but also for the people’s livelihood.
On another note, Muhyiddin said Malaysia recognises the difficulties India is currently facing, and wish to express its continuous support and welcome India’s accession to the RCEP in the future.
The country had opted out from the RCEP negotiations in November 2019.