Cash in on supply chain shift away from China

Southeast Asian nations are being urged to seize a unique opportunity arising from the global trade shift away from China’s supply chain, according to Liew Chin Tong, the deputy minister for investment, trade, and industry.

Liew emphasized the importance of regional cooperation to capitalize on this significant shift, which promises new investments and activities in the manufacturing sector across Southeast Asia. Speaking at the Indo-Pacific Economic Forum in Singapore, he highlighted the region’s need to work together closely to fully benefit from the transition.

He stressed the idea that trade should not be a race to the bottom but rather a collaborative effort among countries to complement each other’s strengths. Liew urged Malaysian manufacturers to aim for middle-to-higher positions in the value chain and collaborate with neighboring countries to achieve mutual growth.

As businesses in Malaysia ascend the value chain, competition will shift from neighboring countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia. Liew noted the emergence of vertical integration in the semiconductor industry across Southeast Asia, with Singapore leading in complexity, Malaysia in the middle, and Vietnam at the base. He suggested extending this vertical integration model to other industries.

Furthermore, Liew highlighted the necessity of acknowledging that the free trade agenda of the hyper-globalization era is no longer viable or desirable.

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