RCEP to bring significant benefits to members, say experts

18/11/2020    13

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday would bring economic benefits to these countries and help strengthen regional integration, experts have said.

"The RCEP will connect about 30 percent of the world's people and output and, in the right political context, will generate significant gains," said a report jointly issued on Monday by Peter A. Petri, a nonresident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution and Michael Plummer, a professor of international economics at Johns Hopkins University.

The RCEP could add 209 billion U.S. dollars annually to world incomes, and 500 billion dollars to world trade by 2030, according to computer simulations published by Petri and Plummer.

The report estimated that the RCEP, together with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) signed in 2018, will make the economies of North and Southeast Asia more efficient by linking their strengths.

North Asia's economies may benefit most, with other nations already covered by a patchwork of existing free trade agreements, said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of UBS Global Wealth Management, on Monday.

Raj Bhala, a distinguished professor at the University of Kansas Law School, told Xinhua that the RCEP partners now have the opportunity to "write and revise international trade rules on 21st century issues," including IP protection, technical standards, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and services liberalization.

Jeffrey Sachs, an economics professor at Columbia University and a senior United Nations advisor, told Xinhua via email on Monday that as the next step, the RCEP should strengthen cooperation on restoring tourism and trade, investing in renewable energy, and achieving sustainable development.

Bhala said that many across the Asia-Pacific region believe trade is not only about trade, but "about all dimensions of life," so the RCEP economies will need to be mindful of social justice and human rights issues as they move forward to build the RCEP community.

According to the report by Petri and Plummer, the RCEP and the CPTPP are powerful counterexamples to the global decline in rules-based trade, and "if RCEP spurs mutually beneficial growth, its members, including China, will gain influence across the world."

Source: Xinhuanet