RCEP to boost world economic recovery amid pandemic: Experts

Chris Lipscombe, of the NZ China Cross-border Electronic Commerce Foundation, welcomed the ratification of the RCEP agreement, noting it would boost the recovery of the Asia-Pacific and world economy

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The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a great example of how regional cooperation can deliver huge economic benefits while boosting world economic recovery amid the pandemic, New Zealand experts have said.

Chris Lipscombe, international business strategist and the president of the New Zealand China Cross-border Electronic Commerce Foundation, welcomed the ratification of the RCEP agreement by China, New Zealand and other countries, noting it would boost the recovery of the Asia-Pacific and world economy amid Covid-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The RCEP is a great example of how regional cooperation can deliver huge economic benefits. I'm very excited to see this agreement come into force," Lipscombe said.

RCEP, the world's largest free trade agreement, was signed between 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and its FTA partners of China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Signed on November 15, 2020, the mega trade deal will enter into force on January 1, 2022.

"New Zealand's ratification of the RCEP earlier this week paves the way for our participation in what will be the world's largest free trade agreement," Lipscombe said.

Once in effect, the deal will eliminate tariffs on as much as 90 per cent of goods traded between its signatories over the next 20 years.

Independent analysis by ImpactECON has shown that over a period of 20 years, New Zealand's annual GDP will be between 0.3 per cent and 0.6 per cent larger as a result of the agreement, amounting to an increase of between NZ$1.5 billion to NZ$3.2 billion.

Lipscombe said the "benefits of the RCEP are also derived from improved market access, reduced processing times for clearing customs and a dispute process".


"As the world looks forward to a post-Covid recovery, the RCEP offers a tremendous boost for our region. Speeding up the clearance of goods at the border, streamlining of trade, and the removal of red tape across the ASEAN region will help our existing exporters. More market access, especially for services and investment into China and other ASEAN member states, will create even more business opportunities."

He symbolized the signing of the agreement as "a new milestone in APEC regional economic integration".

Stephen Jacobi, executive director of the APEC Business Advisory Council, noted that both RCEP and the expansion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) will further accelerate the post-Covid economic recovery of the APEC region.

"We wish to see more countries ratifying the RCEP and expanding CPTPP, which China has expressed interest in and which are the building blocks for achieving a free trade area in the Asia-Pacific region," said Jacobi.

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