Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand). RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- 1 Presence in the world
- 2 Guiding principles and objectives for negotiation
- 3 History and timeline
- 4 Relationship with other frameworks
- 5 Countries involved
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Presence in the world
RCEP includes more than 3 billion people, has a combined GDP of about $17 trillion, and accounts for about 40 percent of world trade.
Guiding principles and objectives for negotiation
At the launch of negotiations on Tuesday, 20 November 2012, the leaders of each relevant country endorsed the "Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership." The key points of this document are as follows.
Scope of negotiations
RCEP will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical co-operation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues. The agreement will encompass trade in goods and services, economic and technical issues, intellectual property and investments, and dispute settlement mechanisms. As expected, ASEAN will be in the "driver's seat" of this multilateral trade arrangement (though the idea was initially given by Japan), and has been repeatedly endorsed by India. The joint statement issued at the end of the first round of negotiations also reiterated "ASEAN Centrality" in the emerging regional economic architecture.
The RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement with significant improvements over the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, while recognising the individual and diverse circumstances of the participating countries.
Negotiations for trade in goods
Negotiations should aim to achieve the high level of tariff liberalisation, through building upon the existing liberalisation levels between participating countries.
Negotiations for trade in services
The RCEP will be comprehensive, of high-quality and consistent with WTO rules and all service sectors will be subject to negotiations.
Negotiations for investment
Negotiations will cover the four pillars of promotion, protection, facilitation and liberalisation.
Negotiations will commence in early 2013 and aim to complete by end-2015.
Participants will be ASEAN members and FTA Partners. After the completion of the negotiations, countries other than the 16 states may join.
History and timeline
14–19 November 2011
- During the 19th ASEAN Summit in November 2011, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was introduced.
25 August - 1 September 2012
- During the 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Economic ministers from the 10 ASEAN countries and six partners agreed to declare by the end of 2012 the start of negotiation among the 16 nations on a free trade agreement, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP.
18–20 November 2012
- Leaders at the 21st ASEAN Summit in November 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia endorsed the framework of RCEP and announced the launch of their negotiations.
9–13 May 2013
- Officials of the 16 governments participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the 10 ASEAN Member States and its Free Trade Agreement Partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand) – met in Brunei Darussalam to start detailed negotiations aimed at concluding RCEP by the end of 2015.
- Consistent with the RCEP Leaders’ Joint Declaration on the Launch of Negotiations for the RCEP of 20 November 2012 and the Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the RCEP endorsed by RCEP Ministers on 30 August 2012, the RCEP negotiations will aim to:
- achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement establishing an open trade and investment environment in the region to facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development; and
- boost economic growth and equitable economic development, advance economic co-operation and broaden and deepen integration in the region through the RCEP, which will build upon our existing economic linkages.
23–27 September 2013
- The second round of RCEP negotiations were going well during 23–27 September 2013 in Australia.
- Delegations primarily focused on trade in goods, trade in services and investment. They also engaged on economic and technical co-operation, competition, intellectual property, dispute settlement and other issues, in line with the RCEP Guiding Principles.
20–24 January 2014
- At the third round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations, the 16 participating countries pursued an intensive exchange of views to advance the negotiations to meet the target of concluding the negotiations by the end of 2015.
- Participating countries continued technical work on trade in goods, trade in services, and investment:
- On Trade in goods, participating countries conducted a constructive discussion on the modalities for the tariff negotiations, non-tariff measures, Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures (STRACAP), Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) as well as on Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF) and Rules of Origin (ROO).
- On Trade in services, participating countries discussed the structure and elements of the RCEP Services Chapter, areas of market access interests and a number of specific issues at good length.
- On Investment, participating countries exchanged views on investment modalities and deliberated further on the elements for the RCEP Investment Chapter.
- To advance negotiations on the broad range of issues, four working groups were established, namely on;
- Intellectual Property
- Economic and Technical Cooperation
- Dispute Settlement
Some delegations made presentations on other issues that are of particular interest to some RCEP participating countries.
- Two Seminars were held at the sidelines of negotiations round.
- Malaysia and Japan organised a Seminar on Intellectual Property (IP), discussing a broad range of issues in IP and how IP may support trade and investment further.
- Australia organised a seminar on the cross cutting areas of Services and Investment. The participating countries had a good discussion on the issues.
Round 4 The 4th round of RCEP negotiations took place in Nanning, China 31 March – 4 April 2014. The participating countries continued intensive discussion on a range of issues to advance the negotiations.
Participating countries engaged on the development of trade in goods texts, intensified consideration of modalities to be used for tariff negotiations and continued discussions on non-tariff measures, Standards, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures (STRACAP), Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) as well as on Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF) and Rules of Origin (ROO).
On Trade in services, participating countries deliberated on the elements of text, the scope of provisions, the approach to scheduling market access commitments, market access commitments, and a number of other specific issues. On Investment, participating countries engaged in discussions on text, and an in-depth discussion on the elements including investment modalities.
At the Nanning meeting, the new working groups on Intellectual Property, Competition, and Economic and Technical Cooperation commenced their work. Other issues of particular interest to a number of RCEP participating countries were discussed. Experts met to discuss Dispute Settlement and broader legal and institutional issues. A formal working group will be established to continue these discussions at the next meeting.
The 5th RCEP negotiation round will be held on 23-27 June 2014 in Singapore.
1-5 December 2014
- 6th RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee(TNC) and related meetings, New Delhi, India
9-13 February 2015
- An expert group on electronic commerce will meet at the next round in Bangkok, Thailand
Relationship with other frameworks
East Asia Free Trade Agreement & Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia
The RCEP takes into account the East Asia Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) initiatives, with the difference that the RCEP is not working on a pre-determined membership. Instead, it is based on open accession which enables participation of any of the ASEAN FTA partners (China, Korea, Japan, India and Australia-New Zealand) at the outset or later when they are ready to join. The arrangement is also open to any other external economic partners, such as nations in Central Asia and remaining nations in South Asia and Oceania.
Trans Pacific Partnership
Along with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the RCEP is a possible pathway to a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific, and a contribution to building momentum for global trade reform.Both the RCEP and TPP are ambitious FTAs and will involve complex negotiations as it involves multiple parties and sectors. The TPP and RCEP as mutually-reinforcing parallel tracks for regional integration.
The arrangement is also open to any other external economic partners, such as nations in Central Asia and remaining nations in South Asia and Oceania.
The RCEP 16 countries
- the 10 members of ASEAN
- plus the three additional members of ASEAN Plus Three
Basic indicators of the RCEP 16 countries
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- East Asian Community
- East Asia Summit
- South Asian Free Trade Area
- FTA (Free Trade Agreement)
- TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership)
- RCEP: Challenges and Opportunities for India, July 25, 2013, RSIS, Singapore
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): Issues and Way Forward July 30, 2013
- Announcement of the Launch of Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Japan November 20, 2012
- Nineteenth ASEAN Summit, Bali, Indonesia | 14-19 November 2011
- ASEAN plus 6 agree to start RCEP talks | 09-01-2012
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Joint Statement The First Meeting of Trade Negotiating Committee | 10 May 2013
- Australia hosts second round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations in Brisbane
- Australia Hosts Second Round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations in Brisbane | HighBeam Research in US| October 4, 2013
- Media Release : 3rd Meeting of the RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee 20-24 January 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 27 Jan 2014 08:40 AM | The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia
- Welcome Address
- What is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)? Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore November 2012
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