Fifteen Asian nations have agreed to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal at a summit on Sunday. The 15 countries include China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. The deal encompasses about 30% of the world’s GDP and trade. It is larger compared to rival trade blocs such as the European Union, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
The discussions about RCEP began eight years ago. India had been part of the RCEP talks since the beginning. However, New Delhi withdrew last year due to concerns about its widening trade deficit with China. The 15 RCEP nations will ban other nations from joining the trade block for a certain period of time after its inception. However, these countries will make an exemption for India, allowing the country to join whenever it is ready.
Japan’s Nikkei reported that RCEP would remove tariffs and set rules in about 20 areas, including farm, fishery, and cross-border data flows. RCEP will cut taxes on 61% of food exports from ASEAN, Australia, and New Zealand, 56% from China, and 49% from South Korea. Meanwhile, Japan will keep tariffs on rice, wheat, dairy and sugar, beef and pork, which Tokyo considers to be politically sensitive.
Analysts said that RCEP would enable China to project its long-term strategic interest. China’s deteriorating ties with Australia also causes concerns over the trade deal. Under Joe Biden’s presidency, the US will likely rejoin the CPTPP, which may attract RCEP nations to follow suit.
Tags: All Products,AlwaysFree,Asia Pacific,Australia,China,English,Indonesia,Japan,Korea,Malaysia,Myanmar,NEA,Philippines,SEA,Singapore,Thailand,VietnamNovember 12, 2020 7:29 PM (GMT+8)