As trade protectionism and anti-globalisation have been surging quickly, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), taking effect on January 1, is sending a strong signal to support free trade and uphold the multilateral trading system.
The RCEP, signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including ASEAN and covering roughly 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, trade, and population, will give a strong boost to international trade and investment and contribute to global economic recovery.
According to the agreement, RCEP covers a wide range of areas, including tariff reduction, trade facilitation, and opening up of services and investment. Over 90 percent of trade in goods among approved member states will be tariff-free, and all member states will significantly reduce restrictions on economic and trade cooperation, facilitate the flow of goods and factors of production, and improve production efficiency.
It will also help strengthen industrial chain coordination and optimize supply chain layout in the Asia-Pacific region, facilitate deeper integration of industrial chains and supply chains among members, and facilitate the free flow of economic factors.
The RCEP integrated market will further tap the cooperation potential of member states in various fields, ease the pressure brought by anti-globalisation and the impact of COVID-19, release the win-win dividends of market sharing and common prosperity to the world, and inject new vitality into free trade and multilateralism.
It is fair to say that the entry into force of RCEP, the world’s largest free trade agreement, is bucking the ugly trend of trade protectionism and anti-globalsation, and setting up a new norm of free trade and investment facilitation.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to sluggish global economic growth and a severe downturn in international trade. According to the latest World Economic Outlook report released by the International Monetary Fund in October, the global economy is expected to continue to recover in 2021 despite the impact of COVID-19, but the recovery momentum will slow down.
With the huge population, diverse membership, and great potential, the RCEP will further boost the confidence and resolve of the international community to work together to achieve economic recovery.
-Commentary from Xinhuanet