ContextEconomic Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) together with 14 other participating countries.

By Joachim Sebastian (CEO & Founder of Everpeaks),

In today’s world, commerce is moving towards a borderless experience. It matters less where your product is sourced from, but how good it is and the value it provides. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will go a long way in moving our region towards that ideal state.  As our country is prepared with the infrastructure to capitalise on this agreement, we need to move fast to position ourselves as a distribution hub for ASEAN.

The effects of Covid-19 have become a catalyst in expanding the digitalisation of ASEAN. This provides outstanding opportunities to companies that have a sufficient understanding of how digitalisation can be implemented with real world results. Deep vertical specialties and cross-discipline integration will be well rewarded indeed. An example of this is drone technology, e-commerce and logistics. Delivering a service/product with minimal human contact is now the requirement of the day.

As a business owner, RCEP truly bolsters our business at Everpeaks by giving us even greater value to transshipment, fulfilment and e-commerce operations. The standardisation and removal of trade barriers will supercharge our regional trade and allow ASEAN brands to compete internally with the big brands of the world. This allows access for SMEs into previously large corporation dominated segments, and builds a larger network of interdependence between countries. The chapter on Trade in Services now positions our offering to have preferential access within the members of the RCEP.

Modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial. The Free Trade Agreements will reduce the regional barriers to entry for high performing products and brands. The standards and conformity chapter will simplify clearance, tariffs, codes and identifiers to truly grease the wheels of regional supply chains.

This is a big win for us, however, one must realise that the benchmark is no longer local, it is now regional. Every dollar spent in ASEAN now travels further. Think regionally.

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