Wang xiaohong: The signing of RCEP requires further opening-up
Wang Xiaohong, Deputy Director of the Information Department, CCIEE
Recently, the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement" (RCEP) was formally signed, marking the opening of the East Asia Free Trade Area with the largest population, the most diverse membership, the greatest development potential, and the greatest dynamic in the world. The total GDP of this regional agreement exceeds 25 Trillion dollars and covers 30% of the world’s population. The goal of the agreement is to build a unified regional market composed of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN by reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Furthermore, the agreement is also aimed at promoting the free flow of factors such as technology, talents, capital, data, stimulating the vitality of the regional market economy, improving the efficiency of resource allocation, and the deep integration of the industrial chain, supply chain, value chain and innovation chain, and eventually achieving common economic development and strengthening the well-being of the people. At the same time, the agreement will take into account the development interests of developing countries. Therefore, it is a multilateral free trade agreement that is inclusive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial. It is of great significance to maintaining peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region.
The COVID-19 pandemic is still spreading, the world economy has entered the Great Depression, protectionism, unilateralism, populism and isolationism are on the rise, and the challenges we are facing are severe. Undoubtedly, the signing of the RCEP will bring hope to economic globalization, inject new impetus into world trade growth and economic recovery, promote economic and trade prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and improve the well-being of the people. The agreement shows that China, as an open and responsible country, is determined to promote the construction of an open world economy and regional economic integration. China will seek common development with its neighbors and other countries and promote the inclusive growth of the regional economy through the sharing of China’s market.
The signing of RCEP is conducive to maintain the stability and security of the regional industrial supply chain. In the post-pandemic era, countries and regions will localize their industrial and supply chains to reduce costs and improve industrial security. ASEAN, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand are important trade and investment partners of China and play an important role in promoting open cooperation and innovation, and formulating new economic and trade rules. The signing of the RCEP will also create favorable conditions for China’s participation in regional cooperation, and the establishment of an independent, safe and controllable global industrial chain system.
The signing of the RCEP is of great significance to China’s promotion of high-level opening-up and deeper participation in economic globalization. We need to meet high-standard international economic and trade rules and deepen system reforms if we want to play a leading role and enhance our say in the free trade zone. This ultra-large regional free trade agreement requires us to build an economic system with a higher-level opening-up, such as accelerating institutional opening-up, improving factor mobility and continuously enhance the market economic system. In the future, we must establish fair competition rules and order, further reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers, further open the service industry, improve cross-border data flow, strengthen intellectual property protection, accelerate the reform of state-owned enterprises, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investment, and create a sound environment for trade and investment. The promotion of further opening-up and deeper reforms will help us to achieve high-quality economic development, which is also a major opportunity brought by the RCEP.