Whilst the UK looks to walk away from the EU trade bloc and the US continues to ramp up the trade war with China, the formation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which would be the largest trade bloc in the world, continues to gather pace.
The RCEP, initiated by ASEAN in 2012, is a proposed free trade agreement between the 10 member states of the association and the six FTA partners of ASEAN – China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
The RCEP group covers 47.4% of world population, 32.2% of global GDP, 29.1% of trade worldwide and 32.5 % of global investment.
A ministerial meeting on the RCEP negotiations over the weekend in Beijing achieved “significant progress”, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce. Over two-thirds of the negotiations on bilateral market access are now complete, and negotiations on the remaining content are being actively pushed forward, said the ministry.
“All sides have reached consensus on more than 80% of the text of the agreement, with negotiations on content in financial, telecommunication and professional services newly completed”.
Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan stressed that it is conducive to preserving economic globalisation and free trade and realising mutual benefits and win-win results among all participating countries if the RECP agreement could be reached as early as possible.
Zhong also called for intensifying the ongoing negotiations to meet the target of conclusion within this year.