RCEP hits new milestone with China ratifying the free trade pact
Published: Mar 08, 2021 11:28 PM


 The Chinese government has officially ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, Minister of Commerce, Wang Wentao, announced on Monday, shedding light on the roll out of this colossal free trade pact.

The ratification of the RCEP means the regions, which account for one third of the global economic output, will form a unified, giant market with high potential and vitality. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council set up a specific work mechanism that has "officially ratified the pact, and some member countries have also stepped up their efforts to ratify the deal," Wang told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing two sessions.

In a historical win for multilateralism, China and 14 other economies signed in November the RCEP, the world's largest trade deal which includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 

Hopefully some partners can ramp up efforts to eventually secure the agreement, the minister said, noting that the sooner the trade pact is ratified, the earlier people from signatory countries will benefit from the deal.   

Back in mid-January, Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), said that China's process to ratify the RCEP, which began in December 2020, has been smooth and the government aims to finish the deal ratification and preparatory work for the implementation of the agreement within six months.

Various Chinese departments have meted out duty lists in keeping to the RCEP lines so that all the opening moves and rule-based obligations could be fully carried out, according to Gao.

MOFCOM, together with other departments of the State Council, is stepping up its work to finish technical preliminary tasks, such as tariff concessions and certification of origin, which have gone as planned, Wang said Monday.

Phase one of the training program across the country, organized by MOFCOM, had over 6,000 participants, while phase two, starting in March, will reach over 40,000 participants. This will allow more companies to learn about and understand the free trade agreement, the minister disclosed.

Furthermore, after completing negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty with EU, China is pushing for the signing of the deal, according to Wang, and will push ahead with negotiations over the trilateral free trade pact with Japan and South Korea.

Additionally, preliminary work has been done regarding the country's interest to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and some unofficial contacts have been made, the minister said. 

Global Times