By He Yin, People’s Daily
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, entered into force, which attracted huge attention from the world.
As the most promising free trade area covering the largest population and most diverse membership, the RCEP fully demonstrates the confidence and resolution of relevant parties in jointly safeguarding multilateralism and free trade, and promoting regional economic integration.
It will further integrate industrial and supply chains in the region and promote cross-border trade and investment, injecting new momentum for regional and global economic recovery.
The world is going through profound changes and a pandemic unseen in a century, and economic globalization running up against headwinds from rising unilateralism and protectionism.
Member countries of the RCEP, which have different social systems, come from different cultural backgrounds, and are in different development stages, have implemented the modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial free trade agreement as scheduled.
They once again proved with concrete actions that economic globalization is irreversible, and openness and integration an unstoppable historical trend. They also proved that to safeguard multilateralism, adhere to opening cooperation, promote free trade and strive for common prosperity is a common aspiration of regional countries and their peoples, as well as the right choice to cope with challenges and promote win-win cooperation.
The RCEP, officially entering into force, will significantly promote regional economic integration and boost regional trade and investment. With a number of promises made on the opening of cargo and service trade, as well as investment, the free trade pact offers institutional guarantee for trade and investment facilitation, and more than 90 percent of merchandise trade between approved members will eventually be subject to zero tariffs under the pact.
The RCEP will further integrate the industrial and supply chains in the Asia-Pacific region, energize regional investment, and give play to the complementary advantages of member countries in technology, manufacturing, agriculture and other sectors.
The RCEP is expected to help its members increase export, stocks of outbound investment and GDP by 10.4 percent, 2.6 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, compared with the baseline, by 2025. This will greatly mitigate the negative impacts from COVID-19 on regional economy and enhance the confidence of the world in economic recovery.
Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit noted that the implementation of the RCEP will create a favorable external environment for the development of its member countries and enhance their resilience in coping with economic challenges.
The RCEP implementation marks a new milestone for China’s opening-up. As the largest economy among the members of the free trade agreement, China has conformed to the trend of regional cooperation and development, and was the first to have ratified the RCEP.
China is a huge market with over 1.4 billion people and more than 400 million middle-income earners. It imports around $2.5 trillion of merchandise and services on an annual basis. The country will provide broader market space for regional economic development and support it with a diverse industrial system, and better join the integrated development of industrial and supply chains in the region and the construction of an integrated market, so as to contribute its strength to the promotion of regional prosperity and global recovery.
China, unswervingly promoting high-level opening up, has demonstrated the confidence and inclusiveness of a major country, as well as its broad mind to seek interests for all.
Implementing a free trade zone upgrading strategy and forging a network of high-standard free trade zones are important measures of China to build a new system for higher-level open economy and foster a new development paradigm.
So far, China has inked free trade pacts with 26 partners, and its trade volume with these partners account for around 35 percent of the country’s total. It is seeing comprehensive improvement in its cargo and service trade, investment, as well as institutional openness.
The RCEP will serve as a bridge for China that connects domestic and international circulations, and brings closer both domestic and international markets and resources. It will better align domestic and international rules, and further vitalize the country’s opening up and innovation.
As long as China conforms to economic globalization to create opportunities while opening up and tackle problems through cooperation, and to work with other countries with strong confidence, it will be able to dispel the shadow cast by the COVID-19 pandemic over the global economy and create a brighter future together with the rest of the world.
By He Yin, People’s Daily