Trade between the bloc`s 15 economies was already worth about $2.3 trillion in 2019, and UNCTAD`s analysis shows that the agreement`s tariff concessions could still boost exports within the newly formed alliance by nearly 2 percent, or about $42 billion. “The signing of RCEP is not only an important step in East Asia`s regional cooperation, but also a victory for multilateralism and free trade. Fifteen Asia-Pacific countries, including China, on Sunday signed the world`s largest trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), without India, in the hope that it will help recover from the shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic. “In the last three years of the trade war with the United States, we have seen a significant increase in trade with ASEAN, a moderate increase in trade with Europe and a decrease in trade with the United States. Trade with Asia and Europe now accounts for 70% of our total trade. This will give us bargaining power in our relations with the United States. India and the US were supposed to become members of RCEP and CPTPP, respectively, but withdrew under the Modi and Trump administrations. As the agreements are now configured (see Figure 1), they stimulate intra-Asian integration around China and Japan. This is partly the result of American policy. The United States must rebalance its economic and security strategies to promote not only its economic interests, but also its security objectives. Other changes include a new scope for trade in services across the region, including telecommunications, professional and financial services; improved mechanisms to eliminate non-tariff barriers, including in areas such as customs procedures, quarantine and technical standards; greater investment security for businesses; new e-commerce rules to make it easier for businesses to trade online; a common set of intellectual property rules; and agreed rules of origin to increase the competitiveness of signatory markets within regional production chains. China and 14 Asian partners sign the world`s largest trade pact Originally, 16 RCEP member countries, including India, launched the first round of RCEP negotiations in November 2012 and announced the substantial conclusion of negotiations in November 2019 after 31 rounds of negotiations.
India announced in the last round of negotiations that it would abandon RCEP until its outstanding concerns are resolved. A major point of contention was India`s refusal to accept the same level of market access obligations, as there was concern that vulnerable sectors in India would suffer and be unable to compete with more advanced and efficient producers in other RCEP member countries such as China, Australia and New Zealand. India also expressed concern about the threat of circumvention of rules of origin due to tariff differences between RCEP parties, saying this could lead to a large influx of agricultural and industrial imports and exacerbate India`s already large and growing trade deficit with China. The leaders of China and 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have signed one of the largest free trade agreements in history, covering 2.2 billion people and 30 percent of global economic output. The impact of RCEP is impressive, even though the agreement is not as strict as the CPTPP. It creates incentives for supply chains across the region, but also responds to political sensitivities. Its intellectual property rules contribute little to what many members have, and the agreement says nothing at all about labour, the environment or state-owned enterprises – all key chapters of the CPTPP. However, ASEAN-centric trade agreements tend to improve over time. RCEP members also reiterated that they continue to “greatly appreciate India`s role in RCEP” and remain open to India`s membership in the future.
New Delhi withdrew from negotiations late last year, concerned about the country`s trade deficit with China. In the longer term, Li described the deal as a “victory for multilateralism and free trade.” RCEP: 15 Asia-Pacific countries sign world`s largest free trade agreement Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called the agreement a “victory for multilateralism and free trade,” according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency on Sunday. UNCTAD`s analysis shows that Japan would benefit the most from RCEP`s tariff concessions, mainly because of the impact of trade diversion. The country`s exports are expected to increase by about $20 billion, an increase of about 5.5 percent over exports to RCEP members in 2019. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration has floated the idea of restructuring global supply chains with countries such as India, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam, but has not bundled them into a formal trade framework that could be an effective counterweight to China`s growing influence. Under RCEP, parts from each member country would be treated equally, which could provide an incentive for companies in RCEP countries to seek suppliers in the trading region. Chinese President Xi opens up to more trade agreements and imports The agreement covers several areas of cooperation, with tariff concessions being a central principle. It will eliminate 90% of tariffs inside the bloc, and these concessions are essential to understanding the initial impact of RCEP on trade, both inside and outside the bloc. In a joint statement, the countries` leaders said the trade deal would be a crucial part of their plans to recover from the pandemic that has forced countries around the world to close their economies.
RCEP covers nearly a third of the world`s population and economy and is expected to bring $186 billion to the global economy through improved regional trade, according to New Zealand`s Minister of Trade and Export Growth Damien O`Connor. Some RCEP members, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, have only one tariff plan that applies to all other members. In other words, exports to these countries from each RCEP member receive the same tariff with a few small exceptions. On the other hand, other countries have some differences in their schedules. For example, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Korea have a timetable for ASEAN and separate timetables for dialogue partners. Meanwhile, Japan only has a tariff plan, but deviations in the schedule indicated in the “Remarks” column are possible. While this type of flexibility in planning tariff obligations is not ideal, it has been a common feature in previous ASEAN+1 fry. Nevertheless, retailers need to find the associated tariff line and see which tariff can apply to which countries. Once implemented, RCEP will be the world`s largest trade agreement, covering about 30% of global GDP and a third of the world`s population. It will be larger than other major trading blocs, including the European Union, the United States,Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). China wins when 15 Asia-Pacific countries sign RCEP, the world`s largest free trade agreement, RCEP will connect about 30% of the world`s population and production and make significant profits in the right political context.
According to the computer simulations we recently published, RCEP could contribute $209 billion a year to global revenue and $500 billion to global trade by 2030. RCEP is not as comprehensive as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, another free trade agreement in the region that includes some of the same countries.  RCEP “does not establish uniform standards for labour and the environment and does not commit countries to opening up services and other vulnerable sectors of their economies.”  China-Australia trade: Beijing wants to ban nearly $400 million in Australian wheat imports Finally, RCEP and CPTPP are strong counter-examples to the global decline in rules-based trade. If RCEP fosters mutually beneficial growth, its members, including China, will gain influence around the world. In 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation described RCEP`s first draft intellectual property regulation as “simply the worst copyright provisions ever seen in a trade agreement.”  As a second step, all parties to the RCEP will launch their respective national procedures necessary for implementation. The Agreement will enter into force 60 days after the submission of the instruments of ratification by six ASEAN member States and three ASEAN negotiating partners under the Free Trade Agreement to the ASEAN Secretary-General, who acts as depositary of the Agreement. For ASEAN countries, a source at Thailand`s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said it usually takes up to 6 to 12 months for six member countries to complete their ratification procedures for each ASEAN free trade agreement. .