Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
RCEP.png
TypeFree trade agreement
Drafted19 November 2011
Bali, Indonesia[1]
Signed15 November 2020
LocationHanoi, Vietnam (Virtual host)
ConditionRatification by at least 6 ASEAN and 3 non-ASEAN countries
Signatories15
Languages

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. 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.[2] 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 as soon as it has been ratified by at least six ASEAN and three non-ASEAN signatories.[3][4][5] 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.[6][7][8] 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.[9] 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.[9] At the time it was signed, analysts predicted that it would help stimulate the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as "pull the economic centre of gravity back towards Asia," and amplify the decline of the United States in economic and political affairs.[7][10][11]

Membership[edit]

ASEAN leaders stated that India, which pulled out of the RCEP negotiations, was welcome to return and join the bloc whenever it was ready. Any other state or customs territory may join the RCEP 18 months after it comes into force.[12]

Signatories[edit]

Member parties[edit]

Flag Country
Capital
Area
(km2)
Population Nominal GDP
(millions of US$)
GDP per cap.
(Nominal, US$)
PPP GDP
(millions of Int$)
GDP per cap.
(PPP, Int$)
HDI Currency
Official languages Leaders
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia
Commonwealth of Australia
Canberra 7,692,024 25,698,300 1,482,282 55,215 1,296,075 50,817 0.938 Australian dollar ($)
(AUD)
None
National and de facto: English
Monarch: Elizabeth II
Governor-General: David Hurley
Prime Minister: Scott Morrison
Flag of Brunei.svg Brunei
Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Bandar Seri Begawan 5,765 459,500 11,991 28,740 33,756 76,567 0.845 Brunei dollar ($)
(BND)
Malay Monarch: Hassanal Bolkiah
Flag of Cambodia.svg Cambodia
Kingdom of Cambodia
Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa
Phnom Penh 181,035 15,626,444 24,307 1,308 69,884 4,022 0.581 Cambodian riel ()
(KHR)
Khmer Monarch: Norodom Sihamoni
Prime Minister: Hun Sen
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China
People's Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Beijing 9,596,961 1,400,050,000 14,342,903 10,262 25,102,916 18,158 0.758 Renminbi (Chinese yuan, ¥)
(CNY)
Standard Chinese
written in simplified characters
see also: Languages of China
General Secretary and President: Xi Jinping
Premier: Li Keqiang
Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia
Republic of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia
Jakarta 1,910,931 263,510,000 1,092,138 3,895 3,481,107 12,432 0.707 Indonesian rupiah (Rp)
(IDR)
Indonesian
see also: Languages of Indonesia
President: Joko Widodo
Flag of Japan.svg Japan
Nihon-koku
Tokyo 377,930 126,760,000 5,063,129 38,281 5,545,884 42,860 0.915 Japanese yen (¥)
(JPY)
None
National and de facto: Japanese
Monarch: Naruhito
Prime Minister: Yoshihide Suga
Flag of Laos.svg Laos
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
Vientiane 236,800 7,123,205 18,674 2,051 53,626 6,115 0.604 Lao kip ()
(LAK)
Lao General Secretary and President: Bounnhang Vorachith

Prime Minister: Thongloun Sisoulith

Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia
Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur
Putrajaya (administrative)
330,803 32,273,000 336,330 9,623 988,993 28,636 0.804 Malaysian ringgit (RM)
(MYR)
Malaysian
see also: Languages of Malaysia
Monarch: Abdullah
Prime Minister: Muhyiddin Yassin
Flag of Myanmar.svg Myanmar (Burma)
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw
Naypyidaw 676,578 54,836,000 74,002 1,374 362,969 6,360 0.584 Burmese kyat (K)
(MMK)
Burmese
see also: Languages of Myanmar
President: Win Myint
State Counsellor: Aung San Suu Kyi
Flag of New Zealand.svg New Zealand
Aotearoa
Wellington 270,467 4,786,710 215,172 41,107 195,103 38,706 0.921 New Zealand dollar ($)
(NZD)
English
Māori
NZ Sign Language
Monarch: Elizabeth II
Governor-General: Patsy Reddy
Prime Minister: Jacinda Ardern
Flag of the Philippines.svg Philippines
Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas
Manila 300,000 109,048,269 357,792 3,102 951,224 8,270 0.712 Philippine peso ()
(PHP)
Filipino (Tagalog)
English
President: Rodrigo Duterte
Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore
Republic of Singapore
Republik Singapura
Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó
Ciṅkappūr Kuṭiyaracu
Singapore
(city-state)
719 5,703,600 337,451 58,484 578,204 101,376 0.935 Singapore dollar ($)
(SGD)
English
Malay
Standard Chinese
written in simplified characters
Tamil
see also: Languages of Singapore
President: Halimah Yacob
Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong
Flag of South Korea.svg South Korea
Republic of Korea
Daehan Minguk
Seoul 100,210 51,709,098 1,597,392 29,114 2,127,164 39,446 0.906 South Korean won ()
(KRW)
Korean President: Moon Jae-in
Prime Minister: Chung Sye-kyun
Flag of Thailand.svg Thailand
Kingdom of Thailand
Ratcha-anachak Thai
Bangkok 513,120 68,298,000 466,623 6,265 1,296,095 17,749 0.765 Thai baht (฿)
(THB)
Thai Monarch: Vajiralongkorn
Prime Minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha
Flag of Vietnam.svg Vietnam
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam
Hanoi 331,699 96,208,984 340,602 3,498 1,016,475 10,537 0.693 Vietnamese đồng ()
(VND)
Vietnamese General Secretary and President: Nguyễn Phú Trọng
Prime Minister: Nguyễn Xuân Phúc

Contents[edit]

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.[14][15] It also prohibits certain tariffs. It does not focus on labor unions, environmental protection, or government subsidies.[14]

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.[9] 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."[16]

The tariffs schedule just for Japan is 1,334 pages long.[16]

Value[edit]

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.[17] 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 $100 trillion by 2050, roughly double the project size of TPP economies.[18] 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.[19]

According to a 2020 projection, the agreement is expected to increase the global economy by US$186 billion.[7][15]

History[edit]

2011

  • August 2011, East Asia Summit Economic Ministers welcomed a Chinese and Japanese joint 'Initiative on Speeding up the Establishment of EAFTA and CEPEA'.[20]
  • During the 19th ASEAN Summit held 14–19 November 2011 in Bali, Indonesia, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was introduced.[1]

2012

  • The 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings were held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 25 August – 1 September 2012.[21]
  • 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.[22]

2013

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

2014

  • The third round of RCEP negotiation was held on 20–24 January 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[24]
  • The fourth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 31 March – 4 April 2014 in Nanning, China.[25]
  • The fifth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 21–27 June 2014 in Singapore.[26]
  • The sixth round of RCEP negotiation and related meetings was held on 1–5 December 2014 in New Delhi, India.[27] The Indians held an outreach event with their business community to educate them on the goals of RCEP. The Japanese asked to set up a workshop on e-Commerce.

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.[28]
  • The eighth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 5–13 June 2015 in Kyoto, Japan.[29]
  • The ninth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 3–7 August 2015 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.[30]
  • 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.[31]

2016

  • The eleventh round of RCEP negotiation was held on 14–19 February 2016 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.[32]
  • The twelfth round of negotiation of RCEP was held on 17–29 April 2016 in Perth, Australia.[33]
  • The thirteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 12–18 June 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand.[34]
  • The fourteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 15–18 August 2016 in Vietnam.[35]
  • The fifteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 11–22 October 2016 in Tianjin, China.[36]
  • The sixteenth round of negotiations of RCEP was held on 6–10 December 2016 in Tangerang, Indonesia.[37]

2017

  • The seventeenth round of negotiations of RCEP was held on 27 February – 3 March 2017 in Kobe, Japan.[38]
  • The eighteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 8–12 May 2017 in Manila, Philippines.[39]
  • The nineteenth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 24–28 July 2017 in Hyderabad, India.[40]
  • The twentieth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 17–28 October 2017 in Incheon, Korea.[41]
  • The first RCEP summit was held on 14 November 2017 in Manila, Philippines.[42][43]

2018

  • The twenty-first round of RCEP negotiation was held on 2–9 February 2018 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.[44]
  • The twenty-second round of RCEP negotiation was held on 28 April – 8 May 2018 in Singapore.[45]
  • The twenty-third round of RCEP negotiation was held on 17–27 July 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.[46]
  • August–October 2018, a series of ministerial meeting in Singapore and Auckland.[47]
  • The twenty-fourth round of RCEP negotiation was held on 18–27 October 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand.[48]
  • 14 November 2018, a leaders' summit in Singapore was scheduled.[49][50]

2019

  • The twenty-fifth round of RCEP negotiations was held from 19–28 February in Bali, Indonesia.[51]
  • 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).[52]
  • Senior officials held inter-sessional meetings starting 24 May 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand to iron out issues pertaining to the goods and services sector.[53]
  • The twenty-sixth round of RCEP negotiations was held on 3 July 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.[54]
  • The twenty-seventh round of RCEP negotiations was held in Zhengzhou, China from 22–31 July 2019.[55]
  • 2–3 August 2019, a ministerial meeting of RCEP trade ministers was held in Beijing, China.[56]
  • 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 19–27 September 2019.[57]
  • 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.[58] In light of India's departure, Japan and China called on India to rejoin the partnership.[59][60]

2020

  • The twenty-ninth round of RCEP negotiations was held from 20–24 April 2020 as a video conference, due to the current situation regarding COVID-19.[61]
  • On 30 April 2020, Joint Statement of the 29th RCEP Trade Committee (RCEP TNC) Meeting was issued.[62]
  • The thirtieth round of RCEP negotiations was held from 15–20 May 2020 as a video conference, due to the current situation regarding COVID-19 disease.[63]
  • The tenth RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting held in the form of a video conference on 23 June 2020.[64] 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.[65]
  • 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.[66] The Ministers issued a Joint Media Statement [67] welcoming the progress made towards finalising the Agreement for signature and reiterating that RCEP remains open for India.[68]
  • The Eleventh RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting held in the form of a video conference on 14 October 2020.[69]
  • Preparatory RCEP Ministerial Meeting held in the form of a video conference on 11 November 2020.[70]
  • The RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020,[3][4] in an unusual ceremony that saw the 15 member countries participate by video link due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[14]

Reactions[edit]

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."[71]

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.[72] Due to India's withdrawal, there are concerns that China may dominate RCEP.[15]

When the RCEP was signed, Chinese premier Li Keqiang declared it "a victory of multilateralism and free trade".[7] 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.[15]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Australia, Brunei, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea
  2. ^ China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam
  3. ^ Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines

References[edit]

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