- IDEAS welcomes the signing of the historic Regional and Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
- RCEP can provide a platform for growth and resilience in the face of pressure and uncertainty in the global economy
- IDEAS calls on the government in Malaysia to build on this momentum, with other ambitious policy including ratification of CPTPP
Kuala Lumpur, 16 November 2020 – IDEAS welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which has been in development for many years. This broad trading agreement underpins what is now the world’s largest trading bloc. The agreement streamlines the network of existing agreements in the region and provides a clear framework for governments and businesses operating across Asia Pacific. RCEP will also have the effect of further consolidating the existing free-trade agreements (FTAs) or Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements (CEPs) that ASEAN has with extra-ASEAN partners, with the possibility of also including India in the future, in order to promote greater economic integration between the 15 member states. The agreement should offer new growth opportunities, particularly for the less economically developed nations within the bloc. The agreement will also provide regional and global value chains with more flexibility and options to reorganise in the face of mounting pressure and uncertainty, including as a result of the US-China trade war and the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a significant achievement for the region in signalling for freer trade and closer cooperation in the future.
The multilateral trade pact is expected to result in tariff elimination of at least 92% of goods traded amongst RCEP countries, and also to ensure greater transparency on non-tariff measures (NTM). RCEP will help to strengthen cross-border e-commerce activities and also digitalization in the region’s logistics sector to increase productivity and efficiency, as well as ensuring higher standards of ethical and sustainable business practices. RCEP will also promote commitment to competition and intellectual property best practices based on agreed principles to protect both consumers and businesses from anti-competition behaviour while encouraging investments in innovation.
Malaysia’s negotiating teams have worked hard to contribute to this historic agreement. Malaysia continues to be an attractive investment destination, despite the pandemic, and the signing of RCEP is expected to open up greater market access opportunities in positioning itself for a speedier recovery. We urge the government and MPs from all sides of the divide to build on the success of RCEP by undertaking more ambitious policies and reforms, including ratification of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which can provide a complementary platform to RCEP. Commenting on the signing of the agreement, IDEAS CEO Tricia Yeoh commented that “This agreement is a historic milestone, with the world’s largest trading bloc now centred on the economies of the Asia Pacific. Congratulations to the officials from Malaysia and all other members who have worked hard for years to reach this point. We call on the Malaysian government to build on this success, including through ratification of the CPTPP, which would further deepen the region’s economic opportunities.”
— END —
For media enquiries: email@example.com
Visit our website at www.ideas.org.my