The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade zone covering the largest population, most extensive region with the most diverse members, and dynamic development, may conclude with great possibilities by the end of 2016.
It is reported that on August 5, the 13th round of RCEP negotiations was concluded in Vientiane, Laos. The 14th round of negotiations takes place on Aug. 10-19 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The 15th round will be held on October 16-22 in Tianjin, China.
RCEP member states hope to complete negotiations soon to reach a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement.
Doha has witnessed many troubles amid WTO negotiations. The development of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is growing, such as RCEP and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) led by the US.
RCEP was proposed by ASEAN leaders at the 21st ASEAN summit in 2012, and was endorsed by Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, New Delhi, Canberra and Wellington, which is also known as the 10 + 6.
The population of RCEP members covers 50% of the global population. Volumes of GDP (gross domestic product), trading and foreign investments of these states account for nearly one-third of the world’s total. It is the current Asian largest FTA (Free Trade Agreement) under negotiation.
The conclusion of the RCEP on schedule will be an important historic event that favors building a peaceful, safe and developing Asia-Pacific, and would make a significant impact on the region and the world.
In recent years, the average rates of GDP growth for RCEP members stood at over 30% larger than the global GDP average growth rates. In 2015, total output of RCEP member states reached US$ 22.4 trillion, accounting for 30.6% of global output.
Total trade volume was US$ 11.9 trillion, and total foreign investment was US$ 329.6 billion. If the RCEP gets concluded, it will become the only FTA in the Asia-Pacific region with greater economic impact than the TPP.
It will boost the Asia-Pacific free trade zone and strengthen cohesion and well-being of the countries in the region. Being has dedicated much effort to negotiate the RCEP that would satisfy Beijing’s strategic interests.
In 2015, China’s goods trade, service trade and overseas investments to RCEP members had been US$ 1.2 trillion, US$ 162.64 billion and US$13 billion respectively, accounting for 30.8%, 22.8% and 11 % of China’s total volume of foreign trade, service trade and overseas investment.
The RCEP would help Beijing gasp a broader business space, while the “Belt and Road” initiative will be strengthened as part of the world’s largest free trade zone. It will also enhance Tokyo’s enthusiasm for China- Japan- ROK FTA to accelerate negotiations.
We can witness improved relations between China and its neighboring countries, as well as highlighting Beijing’s leading role in regional cooperation, offering a solid foundation to build a more stable and mutually beneficial international economic relation.
As the largest economy negotiating RCEP, Beijing could accelerate the negotiation process. Editor: Li Kun; By Xu Huan, associate chief editor and researcher with Foreign Theoretical Trends; 16 August 2016
(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com.)
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