Seven years of "zipper", what will be brought about by the conclusion of the negotiations by RCEP as a whole?
Beijing, 5 Nov (Xinhua) what will be brought about by the conclusion of the negotiations by RCEP as a whole after seven years of "sawing"?
Xinhua News Agency reporter Yu Jiaxin
The Ministry of Commerce issued the joint statement of the third leaders' meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ((RCEP)) on the evening of the 4th. It said the 15 RCEP members had concluded text negotiations in all 20 chapters and negotiations on virtually all market access issues. According to the statement, the next step will be to initiate a review of the legal text with a view to signing the agreement by 2020.
After seven years of "sawing", what will the RCEP, which concludes the negotiations as a whole, bring us?
Give new impetus to globalization and trade liberalization
Under the background of the current rise of trade protectionism, the RCEP negotiations have gone through twists and turns and finally made a breakthrough, which is of great significance in promoting economic integration and safeguarding the multilateral trading system.
Launched by the 10 ASEAN countries, RCEP invites six dialogue partners from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India to establish a free trade agreement for a unified market of 16 countries by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Negotiations on the agreement were officially launched in November 2012 and have been under way for about seven years. From 2 to 3 August this year, the RCEP ministerial meeting was held in Beijing, and the meeting made important progress in promoting the negotiations.
"at a time when some developed economies have chosen to withdraw from FTA and implement trade protectionism, the breakthrough in the RCEP negotiations with developing countries as the main members shows that multilateralism and free trade are still deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. This will play an exemplary role in solving the problem of economic globalization. " Yuan Bo, deputy director and researcher of the Institute of Asian Studies of the Institute of Trade and Economic Cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce, said.
RCEP, which covers about 47 per cent of the global population, about 32 per cent of global GDP, about 29 per cent of global trade and 32 per cent of global investment, is currently the largest free trade agreement negotiation in Asia. It is also a free trade zone negotiation with the largest number of members, the largest scale and the most extensive influence in China.
In the view of Song Hong, deputy director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, once such a volume agreement is negotiated, it will itself be a manifestation of the deep integration of the regional economy. In the context of anti-globalization, This will inject momentum and confidence into the development of economic globalization.
Bring new vitality to the economic development of the region and the world
Reduce taxes on trade in goods, unify cumulative rules of regional origin, and facilitate trade and investment to a higher degree. The conclusion of the RCEP will promote economic cooperation among member countries, as well as the development of regional trade and investment.
This is all the more significant in the context of the global trade downturn. In its latest World Economic Outlook, the (IMF) predicts that global trade growth for the whole year will fall sharply from 3.6 per cent last year to 1.1 per cent this year, well below the growth rate of GDP3%.
Yuan Bo said: after realizing unified cumulative rules of regional origin, RCEP member countries can obtain lower thresholds for duty-free treatment by purchasing raw materials and re-exporting production commodities, thereby reducing costs and realizing the optimal allocation of resources. It helps to promote investment and trade among enterprises.
In addition, compared with WTO, RCEP has a higher level of market access and greater policy preferences among member countries, such as in the areas of trade in services, investment and intellectual property protection. It will also stimulate the enthusiasm of enterprises to "go out".
According to the joint statement of the third leaders' meeting of the RCEP, our RCEP negotiations are aimed at further expanding and deepening regional value chains for the benefit of our enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and to enhance the well-being of our workers, producers and consumers.
Song Hong believes that by raising the level of trade and investment facilitation, the production and supply chain networks in East Asia will become more convenient and free, and will help boost the entire Asian and global economy.
Open up more room for China's import, export and investment
Under the influence of economic and trade frictions, China's exports and imports to the United States have declined, but its foreign trade to ASEAN and other trading partners has maintained a rapid growth of more than 10%. So far this year, ASEAN has surpassed the United States to become China's second largest trading partner.
"once the RCEP is concluded, it will play a very important role in further deepening the economic cooperation between China and ASEAN." Song Hong said.
According to statistics, China has maintained ASEAN's status as the largest trading partner for ten years in a row. In 2018, the bilateral trade volume exceeded 580 billion US dollars, and the cumulative two-way investment exceeded 200 billion US dollars, basically achieving a two-way balance.
Industry insiders pointed out that for China, if the RCEP is reached, it means that more high-quality consumer goods from other countries will enter the Chinese market with lower tariffs to meet the diversified consumption needs of the people.
Speeding up negotiations on a free trade agreement is also a requirement for China to open wider to the outside world in a new round. Yuan Bo said: RCEP is the first time that China has adopted a negative list in the field of investment in FTA, and the degree of openness will exceed the level promised in previous agreements, which will form a strong attraction for enterprises from member countries to invest in China. And further promote domestic reform and development.
At present, the 15 RCEP members have concluded the text negotiations of all 20 chapters, as well as negotiations on virtually all market access issues. The parties will initiate a review of the legal text with a view to signing the agreement by 2020, but there are still a number of important issues that have not yet been resolved.
Song Hong said that in view of possible variables, RCEP members should strengthen multilateral and bilateral communication, enhance flexibility in handling, and prepare adjustment and response mechanisms in advance.