Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP /ˈɑːrsɛp/ AR-sep) is a free trade agreement between the Asia-Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.[2] The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world's population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of global GDP ($26.2 trillion) as of 2020, making it the biggest trade bloc in history.[3] Unifying the preexisting bilateral agreements between the 10-member ASEAN and five of its major trade partners, the RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020 at a virtual ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam, and will take effect 60 days after it has been ratified by at least six ASEAN and three non-ASEAN signatories.[4][5][6]

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
TypeFree trade agreement
Signed15 November 2020 (2020-11-15)
LocationHanoi, Vietnam (Virtual host)
ConditionRatification by at least 6 of 10 ASEAN and 3 of 5 non-ASEAN signatories
Signatories15
Ratifiers
DepositarySecretary General of the ASEAN[1]
LanguageEnglish[1]

The trade pact, which includes a mix of high-income,[note 1] middle-income,[note 2] and low-income countries,[note 3] was conceived at the 2011 ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, while its negotiations were formally launched during the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.[7][8][9] It is expected to eliminate about 90% of the tariffs on imports between its signatories within 20 years of coming into force, and establish common rules for e-commerce, trade, and intellectual property.[10] The unified rules of origin will help facilitate international supply chains and reduce export costs throughout the bloc.

The RCEP is the first free trade agreement between China, Japan, and South Korea, three of the four largest economies in Asia.[10] Several analysts predicted that it would offer significant economic gains for signatory nations, as well as "pull the economic centre of gravity back towards Asia, with China poised to take the lead in writing trade rules for the region", leaving the U.S. behind in economic and political affairs.[note 4] Reactions from others were neutral or negative,[note 5] with some analysts saying that the economic gains from the trade deal would be modest.[27][28][29][30] The RCEP has been criticized for ignoring labor, human rights, and environmental sustainability issues.[8][31][32]

Membership

Signatories

FlagCountry
Capital
Area
(km2)
PopulationNominal GDP
(millions of US$)
GDP per cap.
(Nominal, US$)
PPP GDP
(millions of Int$)
GDP per cap.
(PPP, Int$)
HDICurrency
Official languagesLeaders
Australia
Commonwealth of Australia
Canberra7,692,02425,698,3001,482,28255,2151,296,07550,8170.938Australian dollar ($)
(AUD)
None (de jure)
English (de facto)
Monarch: Elizabeth II
Governor-General: David Hurley
Prime Minister: Scott Morrison
Brunei
Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace
Negara Brunei Darussalam
نڬارا بروني دارالسلام
Bandar Seri Begawan5,765459,50011,99128,74033,75676,5670.845Brunei dollar ($)
(BND)
Malay
English
Monarch: Hassanal Bolkiah
Cambodia
Kingdom of Cambodia
ព្រះរាជាណាចក្រកម្ពុជា
Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa
Royaume du Cambodge
Phnom Penh181,03515,626,44424,3071,30869,8844,0220.581Cambodian riel (៛)
(KHR)
KhmerMonarch: Norodom Sihamoni
Prime Minister: Hun Sen
China
People's Republic of China
中华人民共和国
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Beijing9,596,9611,400,050,00014,860,77510,83925,102,91618,1580.758Renminbi (Chinese yuan, ¥)
(CNY)
Standard Chinese
see also: Languages of China
General Secretary and President: Xi Jinping
Premier: Li Keqiang
Indonesia
Republic of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia
Jakarta1,910,931263,510,0001,092,1383,8953,481,10712,4320.707Indonesian rupiah (Rp)
(IDR)
Indonesian
see also: Languages of Indonesia
President: Joko Widodo
Japan
日本国
Nihon-koku
Tokyo377,930126,760,0005,063,12938,2815,545,88442,8600.915Japanese yen (¥)
(JPY)
None (de jure)
Japanese (de facto)
Monarch: Naruhito
Prime Minister: Yoshihide Suga
South Korea
Republic of Korea
대한민국
大韓民國
Daehan Minguk
Seoul100,21051,709,0981,597,39229,1142,127,16439,4460.906South Korean won (₩)
(KRW)
Korean
Korean Sign Language
President: Moon Jae-in
Prime Minister: Chung Sye-kyun
Laos
Lao People's Democratic Republic
ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
République démocratique populaire lao
Vientiane236,8007,123,20518,6742,05153,6266,1150.604Lao kip (₭)
(LAK)
Lao
French
General Secretary and President: Thongloun Sisoulith

Prime Minister: Phankham Viphavanh

Malaysia
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Putrajaya (administrative)
330,80332,273,000336,3309,623988,99328,6360.804Malaysian ringgit (RM)
(MYR)
Malaysian
English
Monarch: Abdullah
Prime Minister: Muhyiddin Yassin
Myanmar (Burma)
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
ပြည်ထောင်စု သမ္မတ မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတော်
Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw
Naypyidaw676,57854,836,00074,0021,374362,9696,3600.584Burmese kyat (K)
(MMK)
Burmese
see also: Languages of Myanmar
President: Win Myint
State Administration Council: Min Aung Hlaing
New Zealand
Aotearoa
Wellington270,4674,786,710215,17241,107195,10338,7060.921New Zealand dollar ($)
(NZD)
English
Māori
NZ Sign Language
Monarch: Elizabeth II
Governor-General: Patsy Reddy
Prime Minister: Jacinda Ardern
Philippines
Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas
Manila300,000109,048,269357,7923,102951,2248,2700.712Philippine peso (₱)
(PHP)
English
Filipino
see also: Languages of the Philippines
President: Rodrigo Duterte
Singapore
Republic of Singapore
Republik Singapura
新加坡共和国
Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó
சிங்கப்பூர் குடியரசு
Ciṅkappūr Kuṭiyaracu
Singapore
(city-state)
7195,703,600337,45158,484578,204101,3760.935Singapore dollar ($)
(SGD)
English
Malay
Standard Chinese
Tamil
President: Halimah Yacob
Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong
Thailand
Kingdom of Thailand
ราชอาณาจักรไทย
Ratcha-anachak Thai
Bangkok513,12068,298,000466,6236,2651,296,09517,7490.765Thai baht (฿)
(THB)
ThaiMonarch: Vajiralongkorn
Prime Minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha
Vietnam
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam
Hanoi331,69996,208,984340,6023,4981,016,47510,5370.704Vietnamese đồng ()
(VND)
VietnamesePresident: Nguyễn Xuân Phúc
Prime Minister: Phạm Minh Chính

Ratifications

Country Signatory Ratification
 Australia November 15, 2020
 Brunei
 Cambodia
 China April 15, 2021[34]
 Indonesia
 Japan April 28, 2021[35]
 South Korea
 Laos
 Malaysia
 Myanmar
 New Zealand
 Philippines
 Singapore April 9, 2021[36][37]
 Thailand February 15, 2021[38]
 Vietnam

Contents

The agreement is intended to reduce tariffs and red tape. It includes unified rules of origin throughout the bloc, which may facilitate international supply chains and trade within the region.[39][40] It also prohibits certain tariffs. It does not focus on labor unions, environmental protection, or government subsidies.[39]

The 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.[10] The RCEP "does not establish unified standards on labour and the environment, or commit countries to open services and other vulnerable areas of their economies."[41]

The tariffs schedule just for Japan is 1,334 pages long.[41]

Projected Value

2020 RCEP-15's share of global GDP (%)

Members of the RCEP make up nearly a third of the world's population and account for almost 30% of global gross domestic product. The new free trade bloc will be bigger than both the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement and the European Union.[42] The combined GDP of potential RCEP members surpassed the combined GDP of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members in 2007. It was suggested that continued economic growth, particularly in China and Indonesia, could see total GDP in the original RCEP membership grow to over US$100 trillion by 2050, roughly double the project size of TPP economies.[43] On 23 January 2017, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum withdrawing the United States from the TPP, a move which was seen to improve the chances of success for RCEP.[44]

According to a 2020 projection, the agreement is expected to enlarge the global economy by US$186 billion.[8][40] According to Peter Petri and Michael Plummer of the Brookings Institution, the RCEP could add $209 billion annually to world incomes, and $500 billion to world trade by 2030, and that "new agreements will make the economies of North and Southeast Asia more efficient, linking their strengths in technology, manufacturing, agriculture, and natural resources".[13] According to computer simulations in a related paper also by Petri and Plummer published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), the RCEP will raise global national incomes in 2030 by an annual $147 billion and $186 billion respectively, "yield especially large benefits for China, Japan, and South Korea and losses for the United States and India, and "will be especially valuable because it strengthens East Asian interdependence, raising trade among members by $428 billion and reducing trade among nonmembers by $48 billion".[14]

The simulations in Petri and Plummer's PIIE paper showed that the RCEP and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) would together more than offset the global negative economic impact of the China-United States trade war, but not the individual losses of China and the United States. Moreover, the incremental value of the CPTPP will be reduced by the trade war (from $147 billion to $121 billion) while the value of RCEP will be increased (from $186 billion to $209 billion). The PIIE working paper also stated that "RCEP will be economically significant with or without India, and indeed more significant than the CPTPP, with especially important benefits for China, Japan, and Korea" and that "RCEP will reorient trade and economic ties away from global linkages toward regionally focused relationships in East Asia."[14]

According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the RCEP is "relatively comprehensive in coverage" and combines existing deals, which brings Asia a step closer to a region-wide trading bloc. The agreement further liberalizes goods and services trade, establishes common rules of origin for all goods traded, establishes commitments regarding government procurement, and aims to establish open and competitive markets. Though the degree of liberalization within RCEP is not as deep as in the CPTPP, RCEP members are projected to gain $174 billion in real income by 2030, equivalent to 0.4% of the members' aggregate GDP. China, Korea and Japan will benefit the most, with likely gains of $85 billion for China, $48 billion for Japan, and $23 billion for Korea. Other significant RCEP gains will accrue to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.[15] Due to their RCEP membership, Japan and Korea would accrue gains amounting to 1% of their GDP while Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei would all accrue gains of 0.5% of GDP or higher.[16]

New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade stated that the RCEP is projected to add $186 billion to the world economy and increase New Zealand's GDP by around $2.0 billion. The RCEP members took 56% of New Zealand's total exports, representing 61% of New Zealand's goods exports (worth $36.6 billion) and 45% of New Zealand’s services exports (worth $11.8 billion). According to the ministry, "RCEP delivers improved market access for New Zealand services exporters and investors in some RCEP markets that go beyond existing FTAs. Under RCEP, New Zealand services exporters and investors will, for the first time, benefit from market access commitments from China and ASEAN countries that are not party to the CPTPP".[45] Following the signing of the RCEP, New Zealand and China signed a deal to further expand their existing free-trade agreement. The expanded deal provides for tariffs to be either removed or cut on many of New Zealand's mostly commodities-based exports, ranging from dairy to timber and seafood, while compliance costs will also be reduced. The deal also opens up sectors such as aviation, education and finance.[46]

History

2018 RCEP-15 trade balances, in billions of U.S. dollars

2011

  • August 2011, East Asia Summit Economic Ministers welcomed a Chinese and Japanese joint 'Initiative on Speeding up the Establishment of EAFTA and CEPEA'.[47]
  • During the 19th ASEAN Summit held 14–19 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was introduced.[48]

2012

  • The 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings were held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 25 August – 1 September 2012.[49]
  • Leaders at the 21st ASEAN Summit held 18–20 November 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia endorsed the framework of RCEP and announced the launch of their negotiations.[50]

2013

  • The first round of RCEP negotiation was held on 9–13 May 2013 in Brunei.[33]
  • The second round of RCEP negotiation was held on 23–27 September 2013 in Brisbane, Australia.[51]

2014

  • The third round of RCEP negotiation was held on 20–24 January 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[52]
  • The fourth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 31 March – 4 April 2014 in Nanning, China.[53]
  • The fifth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 21–27 June 2014 in Singapore.[54]
  • The sixth round of RCEP negotiation and related meetings was held on 1–5 December 2014 in New Delhi, India.[55]

2015

  • The seventh round of RCEP negotiation was held on 9–13 February 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand. An expert group on electronic commerce met during this round. The Asian Trade Centre (based in Singapore) submitted a proposal regarding an e-Commerce chapter and gave a presentation on the paper.[56]
  • The eighth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 5–13 June 2015 in Kyoto, Japan.[57]
  • The ninth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 3–7 August 2015 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.[58]
  • The tenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 12–16 October 2015 in Busan, South Korea. The meetings took place at BEXCO (Busan's Convention and Exhibition Centre). This round included the first region wide stakeholder meeting (organized by the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre) which involved an informal meeting between government officials and business representatives over lunch followed by an afternoon seminar focused on what RCEP can do to help business operate in the e-Commerce space.[59]

2016

  • The eleventh round of RCEP negotiation was held on 14–19 February 2016 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.[60]
  • The twelfth round of negotiation of RCEP was held on 17–29 April 2016 in Perth, Australia.[61]
  • The thirteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 12–18 June 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand.[62]
  • The fourteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 15–18 August 2016 in Vietnam.[63]
  • The fifteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 11–22 October 2016 in Tianjin, China.[64]
  • The sixteenth round of negotiations of RCEP was held on 6–10 December 2016 in Tangerang, Indonesia.[65]

2017

  • The seventeenth round of negotiations of RCEP was held on 27 February – 3 March 2017 in Kobe, Japan.[66]
  • The eighteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 8–12 May 2017 in Manila, Philippines.[67]
  • The nineteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 24–28 July 2017 in Hyderabad, India.[68]
  • The twentieth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 17–28 October 2017 in Incheon, Korea.[69]
  • The first RCEP summit was held on 14 November 2017 in Manila, Philippines.[70][71]

2018

  • The twenty-first round of RCEP negotiation was held on 2–9 February 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.[72]
  • The twenty-second round of RCEP negotiation was held on 28 April – 8 May 2018 in Singapore.[73]
  • The twenty-third round of RCEP negotiation was held on 17–27 July 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.[74]
  • August–October 2018, a series of ministerial meeting in Singapore and Auckland.[75]
  • The twenty-fourth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 18–27 October 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.[76]
  • 14 November 2018, a leaders' summit in Singapore was scheduled.[77][78]

2019

  • The twenty-fifth round of RCEP negotiations was held from 19 to 28 February in Bali, Indonesia.[79]
  • 2 March 2019, a ministerial meeting of RCEP trade ministers held in Cambodia. The ministers agreed to intensify engagement for the remainder of the year (including by convening more inter-sessional meetings).[80]
  • Senior officials held inter-sessional meetings starting 24 May 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand to iron out issues pertaining to the goods and services sector.[81]
  • The twenty-sixth round of RCEP negotiations was held on 3 July 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.[82]
  • The twenty-seventh round of RCEP negotiations was held in Zhengzhou, China from 22 to 31 July 2019.[83]
  • 2–3 August 2019, a ministerial meeting of RCEP trade ministers was held in Beijing, China.[84]
  • 3rd RCEP summit was held once again on 31 October – 3 November 2019 in Thailand with 35th ASEAN summit on same day.
  • The twenty-eighth round of RCEP negotiations was held in Danang, Vietnam from 19 to 27 September 2019.[85]
  • India opts out of RCEP on 4 November 2019 in ASEAN+3 summit, citing, according to its view, the adverse impact the deal would have on its citizens.[86] In light of India's departure, Japan and China called on India to rejoin the partnership.[87][88]

2020

  • The twenty-ninth round of RCEP negotiations was held from 20 to 24 April 2020 as a video conference, due to the current situation regarding COVID-19.[89]
  • On 30 April 2020, Joint Statement of the 29th RCEP Trade Committee (RCEP TNC) Meeting was issued.[90]
  • The thirtieth round of RCEP negotiations was held from 15 to 20 May 2020 as a video conference, due to the current situation regarding COVID-19 disease.[91]
  • The tenth RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting held in the form of a video conference on 23 June 2020.[92] The officials reiterated their determination to sign the RCEP at the fourth RCEP Summit in November.
  • The thirty-first round of RCEP negotiation was held on 9 July 2020 as a video conference, due to the current situation regarding COVID-19 disease.[93]
  • The Eighth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting was held on 27 August 2020 as a video conference, due to the current situation regarding COVID-19 disease.[94] The Ministers issued a Joint Media Statement welcoming the progress made towards finalising the Agreement for signature.[95]
  • The Eleventh RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting held in the form of a video conference on 14 October 2020.[96]
  • Preparatory RCEP Ministerial Meeting held in the form of a video conference on 11 November 2020.[97]
  • The RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020,[4][5] in an unusual ceremony that saw the 15 member countries participate by video link due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[39]

2021

  • The Thai parliament ratified the pact on 15 February 2021.[98]
  • Singapore ratified RCEP agreement and deposited its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN on 9 APRIL 2021. Singapore is the first RCEP Participating Country (RPC) to complete the official ratification process.[99]
  • On April 15, 2021, China deposited the instrument of ratification with the ASEAN secretary-general, marking the completion of the ratification process for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement.[100]
  • On April 28, 2021, Japan’s upper house of parliament ratified the RCEP agreement, after the lower house gave the green light earlier in April. Japan became the second economy outside ASEAN to give its formal support to the deal.[101]

Reactions

Positive

When the RCEP was signed, Chinese premier Li Keqiang declared it "a victory of multilateralism and free trade".[8] Singaporean prime minister Lee Hsien Loong called it "a major step forward for our region" and a sign of support for free trade and economic interdependence.[40]

Several analysts predicted that it would help stimulate the economies of signatory nations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as "pull the economic centre of gravity back towards Asia, with China poised to take the lead in writing trade rules for the region", leaving the U.S. behind in economic and political affairs.[8][11][12]

Mohamed Azmin Ali, Minister of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia, said the RCEP would encourage local businesses to enter global markets and would increase Malaysia's exports. He stated that RCEP signatories would enjoy preferential treatment due to the removal of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.[18]

Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia, stated that the signing of the RCEP was a historic day that signaled Indonesia's strong commitment to multilateralism. Agus Suparmanto, Indonesian Minister of Trade, said that the RCEP could boost Indonesia's exports to signatory nations by 8-11% and boost investment into Indonesia by 18-22%, and expressed confidence that the trade pact would benefit Indonesian business.[17]

Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea, praised the RCEP as an unprecedented mega regional trading agreement and expressed confidence that it will "contribute to the recovery of multilateralism and the development of free trade around the world, beyond the region". Moon also stated that he expects the RCEP to open the world's biggest e-commerce market.[19] The Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the conclusion of the RCEP, expecting that it would "expand a new free trade bloc and serve as the basis for revitalizing the Asia-Pacific regional economic markets". The RCEP will benefit Korean companies by removing tariffs on several Korean imports in signatory nations, especially in steel, automobiles and electronics.[20]

Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore's former permanent representative to the United Nations and former President of the United Nations Security Council, stated that the "future of Asia will be written in four letters, RCEP" and that India did a major geopolitical favor to China by withdrawing from the RCEP, just as the United States did by withdrawing from the CPTPP. Mahbubani added that with India and the United States absent, "a massive economic ecosystem centered on China is evolving in the region".[102]

According to Peter Petri and Michael Plummer at the Brookings Institution, the agreement represented "a triumph of ASEAN's middle-power diplomacy" and would lead to significant increases in world incomes and trade by 2030, even though it "says nothing at all about labor, the environment, or state-owned enterprises". They added, "However, ASEAN-centered trade agreements tend to improve over time."[13]

Other reactions and issues

In 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation described the first draft of RCEP's intellectual property provisions as containing "quite simply the worst provisions on copyright ever seen in a trade agreement."[21]

India pulled out of the deal in November 2019, primarily due to concerns of dumping of manufactured goods from China and agricultural and dairy products from Australia and New Zealand, potentially affecting its own domestic industrial and farming sectors.[22] Due to India's withdrawal, there are concerns that China may dominate RCEP.[40] ASEAN leaders stated that India was welcome to return and join the bloc. Any other state may join RCEP 18 months after it comes into force.[103]

The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2019 that the tariff-related liberalizations from RCEP would be modest, calling it a "paper tiger". A comprehensive study into the deal shows that it would add just 0.08% to China's 2030 GDP without India's participation.[28][29]

Human rights groups said RCEP could negatively affect small farmers, lead to more land conflicts, and make workers in poorer nations worse off. Rashmi Banga, a senior economist at UNCTAD, said that implementing RCEP at a time of crisis will make poorer nations in Southeast Asia even more vulnerable, adding, "Most Asean nations will see rising imports and declining exports. That will worsen their balance of trade and weaken their fiscal position."[32]

Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said that despite the "hoopla", the RCEP was "a really low-ambition trade deal that we shouldn't kid ourselves on", adding, "It's a very old fashioned trade deal. It's low ambition. It's been affected largely for strategic reasons."[23][104]

CNBC reported that the economic benefits from RCEP would be modest and could take years to materialize, with analysts from Citi suggesting that RCEP was "a coup for China" non-economically. The Citi report also said that India is one of the biggest losers from RCEP, adding, "exclusion will likely make India less attractive as an alternative production base versus ASEAN."[27]

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said it is not in India's interest to join the RCEP, as the trade deal would have "fairly immediate negative consequences" for India's economy.[105][106] Zia Haq, associate editor at Hindustan Times, said India has "rightly shunned" the RCEP because at the moment it cannot take advantage of free-trade agreements. He went on to say, "India fears the RCEP will also limit its policy-making room in areas such as foreign investment." He said that according to some analysts, there will be limited gains from the RCEP without India, which is Asia's third-largest economy.[30]

Yen Huai-shing, deputy director at the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, wrote on Taipei Times that the RCEP is "not to have a strong impact" on Taiwan. She said that most observers did not expect the RCEP to provide a high degree of openness, and that it provides no dispute settlement mechanism when handling certain trade issues such as meat inspection regulations, adding, "In other words, they are more symbolic than binding."[24]

According to Patricia Ranald at the Australian Institute of International Affairs, RCEP has limited gains from trade and ignores labor, human rights, and environmental sustainability issues. She said, "Despite claims about the benefits of common standards, the RCEP has no commitments to internationally recognised labour rights and environmental standards which Australia and other RCEP governments have endorsed through the United Nations and the International Labour Organization."[31]

Salvatore Babones commented on Foreign Policy that, by 2030, the world's economy would be expected to grow around 40% and the RCEP may add 0.2% to it, the scale of a "rounding error". He said that some main exports to China, such as Japan's machinery and Australia's iron ore, are already tariff-free. Babones said that with the signing of RCEP, "China may score propaganda points by posing as the guardian of the international system, but the system itself is increasingly bypassing China."[25]

Some analysts and economists said the RCEP is unlikely to benefit its developing member countries in the short term. Kate Lappin, Asia Pacific regional secretary at Public Services International, said that the pact has no provisions for improving labor rights, adding, "The agreement might not be good for governments and workers, but still deliver profits for foreign investors."[26]

See also

Notes

  1. Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea
  2. China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam
  3. Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar
  4. See references[8][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20]
  5. See references[21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32]

References

  1. http://fta.mofcom.gov.cn/rcep/rceppdf/d20z_en.pdf
  2. "World Bank: RCEP Initiator is Indonesia, Not China". CNBC. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
  3. "India stays away from RCEP talks in Bali". Nikkei Asian Review. Jakarta. 4 February 2020. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  4. "Asia-Pacific nations sign world's largest trade pact RCEP". CNA. 15 November 2020. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  5. Ng, Charmaine (15 November 2020). "15 countries, including Singapore, sign RCEP, the world's largest trade pact". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  6. "RCEP: Asia-Pacific nations sign world's biggest trade pact". www.aljazeera.com. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. "China declares victory as 15 nations sign world's biggest free-trade deal". South China Morning Post. 15 November 2020. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  9. "RCEP: Challenges and Opportunities for India, 25 July 2013, RSIS, Singapore" (PDF). rsis.edu.sg. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  10. "What is RCEP and what does an Indo-Pacific free-trade deal offer China?". South China Morning Post. 12 November 2020. Archived from the original on 15 November 2020. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  11. "US being left behind after Asia forms world's biggest trade bloc RCEP: US Chamber". CNA. 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
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