The abbreviation of “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” (RCEP) was initiated by ASEAN in 2012 and lasted for eight years. It was developed by a total of 15 members including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the ten ASEAN countries.


On November 15, 2020, the 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders’ Meeting was held in video mode. After the meeting, the 10 ASEAN countries and 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand formally signed (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, RCEP).


The signing of the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” marks the official start of the free trade zone with the largest population, the largest economic and trade scale, and the most potential for development in the world.



Which member countries does RCEP include?


Ten ASEAN countries and 15 countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand

When is RCEP signed?


November 15, 2020


What is the total population covered by RCEP?


2.2 billion


What is the total GDP scale of RCEP member countries in US dollars?


USD 25.6 trillion


What is RCEP?


The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is the largest and most important free trade agreement negotiation in the Asia-Pacific region. After being reached, it will cover nearly half of the world’s population and nearly one-third of the world’s trade volume, making it the world’s largest population and the most diverse membership. Develop the most dynamic free trade zone.


The official signing on November 15, 2020, means the birth of the world’s largest free-trade zone. It is reported that the current attitudes of all parties to promote the entry into force of RCEP are very positive. The agreement can be implemented first after 6 ASEAN countries and 3 non-ASEAN countries have approved it.



What are the members of the RCEP agreement?


The members of the “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” include 10 ASEAN countries, 15 countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.



What is the meaning of RCEP?


On November 6, 2019, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen stated that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement is a comprehensive, modern, high-quality, and mutually beneficial free trade agreement.


The “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” (RCEP) covers a population of more than 3.5 billion, accounting for 47.4% of the world, GDP accounting for 32.2% of the world, and total foreign trade accounting for 29.1% of the world. It is the world’s most populous free trade zone with the most potential negotiation. Once reached, it will further promote the integration of industries and value chains in the region, and inject strong impetus into regional economic integration.


According to 2018 data, the population of the 15 RCEP member states that have concluded negotiations as a whole reached 2.2 billion, GDP reached 29 trillion U.S. dollars, exports reached 5.6 trillion U.S. dollars, and attracted foreign investment flows of 370 billion U.S. dollars, basically accounting for the global total. About 30% of the amount. After RCEP15 is completed, it will be the largest free-trade zone in the world. If India joins after solving related issues, the scale will be further expanded.


Completing the RCEP negotiations is conducive to sending out messages dedicated to building an open world economy and supporting the multilateral trading system, improving the environment for regional trade and investment, promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, helping countries better meet challenges, and strengthening the region The potential for future development will benefit the people of all countries in this region.


What does RCEP include?


Chapter 1 RCEP’s initial terms and general definitions

This chapter mainly clarifies that the goals of RCEP parties are to jointly establish a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership cooperation framework to promote regional trade and investment growth and contribute to global economic development. This chapter also defines the general terms in the agreement.


Chapter 2 RCEP’s Trade in Goods

The purpose of this chapter is to promote the realization of a high level of trade liberalization in the region and to provide for commitments related to trade in goods. Provisions include: commitments to grant national treatment to other contracting parties’ goods in accordance with Article 3 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; preferential market access through the gradual implementation of tariff liberalization; temporary duty-free entry of certain goods; cancellation of agricultural export subsidies; and The restrictions on non-tariff measures such as quantity restrictions, import licensing procedures management, and import and export-related fees and procedures will be completely removed.


Chapter 3 Rules of Origin of RCEP

This chapter determines the rules for determining originating goods eligible for preferential tariff treatment under RCEP. While ensuring the application of the principle of substantive change, it highlights technical feasibility, trade convenience, and business friendliness, so that enterprises, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, can easily understand and use the RCEP agreement. In the first section of this chapter, Article 2 (originating goods) and Article 3 (completely obtained or completely produced goods), and Annex I “Product-Specific Rules of Origin” (PSR) list the granted goods “origin Bit” standard. The agreement also allows the value component from any contracting party of RCEP to be taken into account when determining whether the goods are eligible for RCEP tariff preferences, and the rule of accumulation of origin components is implemented. In the second section, relevant operational certification procedures are stipulated, including detailed procedures for applying for an RCEP certificate of origin, applying for preferential tariff treatment, and verifying the “status of origin” of goods. There are two appendices to this chapter: (1) Product-specific rules of origin, covering about 5,205 6-digit tax items; (2) Minimum information requirements, which list the information required by the certificate of origin or declaration of origin.


Chapter 4 RCEP’s Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation

This chapter aims to create an environment that promotes the regional supply chain by ensuring the predictability, consistency, and transparency of customs laws and regulations, as well as promoting the effective management of customs procedures and the rapid customs clearance of goods. This chapter contains enhanced provisions higher than the level of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation, including advance rulings on tariff classification, origin, and customs valuation; Convenience measures related to formalities and procedures; risk management methods for customs supervision and post-customs clearance audits, etc.


Chapter 5 RCEP on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures

This chapter sets out the basic framework for formulating, adopting, and implementing sanitary and phytosanitary measures to protect the life or health of humans, animals or plants while ensuring that the above measures do not restrict trade as much as possible, and the sanitary measures implemented by contracting parties under similar conditions. There is no unreasonable discrimination with phytosanitary measures. Although the contracting parties have declared their rights and obligations in the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, the agreement has strengthened risk analysis, audit, certification, import inspection, and emergency measures in pest-free and low-endemic areas. Wait for the implementation of the terms.

Chapter VI Standards, Technical Regulations, and Conformity Assessment Procedures

This chapter strengthens the parties’ implementation of the WTO’s Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and recognizes the understandings reached by the parties on standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures. At the same time, promote the parties to reduce unnecessary technical trade barriers in the recognition of standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures, and ensure that the standards, technical regulations, and conformity assessment procedures comply with the WTO’s “Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement” provisions and other aspects of information exchange and cooperation.


Chapter 7 RCEP’s Trade Remedies

This chapter includes two parts: “safeguard measures” and “anti-dumping and countervailing duties”. Regarding safeguard measures, the agreement reaffirms the rights and obligations of the parties under the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguard Measures and establishes a transitional safeguard measure system to provide relief to the parties in the event of damage caused by the performance of the agreement to reduce taxes. Regarding anti-dumping and countervailing duties, the agreement reaffirmed the rights and obligations of the parties in the relevant WTO agreements and formulated an annex to the “practices related to anti-dumping and countervailing investigations”, which regulated written information, consultation opportunities, ruling announcements, and explanations, etc. Practice practices to promote the transparency and due process of trade remedy investigations.


Chapter 8 RCEP’s Service Trade

This chapter eliminates the restrictive and discriminatory measures of various members that affect cross-border service trade and creates conditions for further expansion of service trade among contracting parties. Including market access commitment form, national treatment, most-favored-nation treatment, local existence, domestic regulations, and other rules. Some contracting parties adopt the negative list method to make market access commitments, requiring the contracting parties that now adopt the positive list to switch to the negative list model to make arrangements for their service commitments within 6 years after the agreement enters into force.


Chapter 8 Annex 1: RCEP’s Financial Services Annex

The Financial Services Annex lays down specific rules on financial services, and at the same time provides sufficient policy and regulatory space for preventing the instability of the financial system. In addition to the obligations set out in Chapter 8 (Trade in Services), this annex also includes a robust prudential exception to ensure that financial regulators retain the ability to develop measures to support the integrity and stability of the financial system. This annex also includes financial regulatory transparency obligations. Contracting parties undertake not to prevent the transfer of information or information processing necessary for conducting business, as well as the provision of new financial services. This annex also stipulates that the contracting parties may discuss and resolve the balance of payments crisis or situations that may escalate to a balance of payments crisis through consultations and other means.


Chapter 8 Annex II: RCEP’s Telecommunications Service Annex

This annex establishes a framework of rules related to the trade in telecommunications services. On the basis of all existing “ASEAN ’10+1′ Free Trade Agreement” telecommunications service annexes, the annexes also include regulatory methods, international submarine cable systems, unbundling of network elements, access to electric poles, pipelines, and pipe networks, Terms such as international mobile roaming, flexibility in technology choice, etc.


Chapter 8 Annex III: RCEP Professional Services Annex

This Annex provides ways for Contracting Parties to facilitate the provision of professional services in the region. Including: strengthening the dialogue between institutions that recognize professional qualifications, and encourage RCEP contracting parties or related institutions to consult on the professional qualifications, licenses, or registrations of professional service departments of mutual interest. In addition, contracting parties or related institutions are encouraged to formulate mutually acceptable professional standards and guidelines in the fields of education, examinations, experience, codes of conduct and ethics, professional development and re-certification, the scope of practice, and consumer protection.


Chapter 9 Movement of Natural Persons in RCEP

This chapter sets out the commitments made by the contracting parties to promote the temporary entry and temporary stay of natural persons engaged in trade in goods, providing services or making investments, and formulates the rules for the contracting parties to approve such temporary entry and temporary stay permits to improve the transparency of the mobility policy. The attached commitment table lists the types of commitments covering business visitors, internal mobile personnel, etc., as well as the conditions and restrictions required by the commitments.


Chapter 10 Investment

This chapter covers four aspects of investment protection, liberalization, promotion, and facilitation. It is an integration and upgrade of the original “ASEAN ’10+1′ Free Trade Agreement” investment rules, including the promise of most-favored-nation treatment, the prohibition of performance requirements, and the adoption of a negative list The model makes market access commitments in non-service sectors and applies the ratchet mechanism (that is, the level of future liberalization cannot be reversed). The investment facilitation part also includes the prevention of disputes and the coordination and settlement of foreign complaints. This chapter is accompanied by a commitment table of all parties’ investment and non-conforming measures.


Chapter 11 Intellectual Property Rights of RCEP

This chapter provides a balanced and inclusive program for the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights in the region. The content covers a wide range of fields such as copyrights, trademarks, geographical indications, patents, designs, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, anti-unfair competition, intellectual property enforcement, cooperation, transparency, and technical assistance. The relevant intellectual property agreement has been strengthened.



Chapter 12 RCEP’s Electronic Commerce

This chapter aims to promote the use and cooperation of e-commerce among contracting parties. It lists provisions that encourage contracting parties to improve trade management and procedures through electronic means; requires contracting parties to create an enabling environment for e-commerce and protect the personal information of e-commerce users. Provide protection for online consumers, strengthen supervision and cooperation on uninvited commercial electronic information; propose relevant measures for the location of computer facilities and electronically transmit information across borders, and establish a regulatory policy space. The contracting parties also agreed to maintain the current practice of not imposing tariffs on e-commerce in accordance with the decision of the WTO Ministerial Conference.


Chapter 13 RCEP Competition

This chapter establishes a framework for parties to cooperate in competition policy and law to improve economic efficiency and consumer welfare. It stipulates that contracting parties are obliged to establish or maintain laws or institutions to prohibit activities that restrict competition while recognizing that contracting parties have the sovereign right to formulate and enforce their own competition laws and allow exclusions or exemptions based on public policy or public interest. This chapter also deals with the protection of consumer rights. Contracting parties are obliged to adopt or maintain domestic laws and regulations to stop misleading behavior or make false or misleading descriptions in trade; promote the understanding and use of consumer relief mechanisms; The common interests of consumers cooperate.


Chapter 14 Small and Medium Enterprises

The contracting parties agreed to provide a platform for SME talks in the agreement to carry out economic cooperation projects and activities aimed at increasing the use of the agreement by SMEs and benefiting from the opportunities created by the agreement and to incorporate SMEs into the mainstream of the regional supply chain. The agreement emphasizes the full sharing of information related to SMEs in the RCEP, including the content of the agreement, the laws and regulations in the field of trade and investment-related to SMEs, and other business-related information that participates in the agreement with SMEs and benefits from it.

Chapter XV Economic and Technical Cooperation

This chapter provides a framework for realizing the common development of RCEP countries and contributes to the full benefit of all parties from the implementation and utilization of the agreement, and to narrows the development gap between the parties. According to this chapter, the contracting parties will implement technical assistance and capacity building projects to promote inclusive, effective, and efficient implementation and utilization of all areas of the agreement, including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property, competition, small and medium-sized enterprises, and e-commerce. At the same time, priority will be given to the needs of the least developed countries.


Chapter 16 RCEP’s Government Procurement

The agreement recognizes the role of government procurement in promoting regional economic integration to promote economic development and will focus on improving the transparency of laws, regulations, and procedures, and promote cooperation between the parties in government procurement. This chapter contains deliberation clauses and aims to improve this chapter in the future to promote government procurement.


Chapter XVII General Terms and Exceptions

This chapter stipulates the general principles applicable to the entire RCEP agreement, including the transparency of the parties’ laws, regulations, procedures, and generally applicable administrative rulings, the establishment of an appropriate review and appeal mechanism for each party’s administrative procedures, the protection of confidential information, and the geographical location of the agreement. Scope of application, etc. At the same time, this chapter incorporates the general exceptions listed in Article 20 of GATT1994 and Article 14 of GATS into this Agreement after necessary amendments. Contracting parties can take actions or measures that they deem necessary to protect their basic security interests. This chapter also allows parties to take certain measures in the face of serious imbalances in the balance of payments, external financial difficulties, or threats.


Chapter XVIII RCEP’s Institutional Terms

This chapter specifies the institutional arrangements of RCEP, as well as the structure of the Council of Ministers, joint committees, and other committees or sub-committees. The joint committee will supervise and guide the implementation of the agreement, including supervising and coordinating the work of newly established or future subsidiary bodies in accordance with the agreement.


Chapter XIX RCEP’s Dispute Settlement

This chapter aims to provide effective, efficient, and transparent procedures for resolving disputes arising under the agreement. There are clear regulations on the choice of venues for dispute settlement, the negotiation between the parties to the dispute, mediation or mediation, the establishment of expert groups, and the rights of third parties. This chapter also specifies the functions of the expert group, the procedures of the expert group, the execution of the final report of the expert group, the execution review procedure, compensation, and suspension of concessions or other obligations.


Chapter 20 RCEP’s Final Terms

This chapter mainly includes the handling of annexes, appendices, and footnotes; the relationship between the agreement and other international agreements; the general review mechanism; the entry into force, custody, revision, accession and withdrawal clauses of the agreement, etc. Designate the Secretary-General of ASEAN as the custodian of the agreement and be responsible for receiving and distributing documents to all contracting parties, including all notifications, accession requests, approval letters, acceptance letters, or approval letters. The entry into force clause of the treaty stipulates that the agreement requires at least 6 ASEAN member states and 3 ASEAN Free Trade Agreement partners to deposit a letter of ratification, acceptance, or approval before it becomes effective.



RCEP’s social evaluation and significance?


Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of China’s Ministry of Commerce and Deputy Representative of International Trade Negotiations: It is a mutually beneficial free trade agreement, embodied in the areas of trade in goods, service trade, investment, and regulations, and it must reflect a balance. In particular, this agreement also stipulates some regulations such as economic and technical cooperation. For the least developed countries such as Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia, some transitional arrangements are given to them, so that they can better integrate into the regional economy. Integration.


Why did China join RCEP?


On November 15, 2020, China signed the RCEP, which is an exciting move. Because this is the prelude to the establishment of new world order. There will be huge changes in the free trade zone, global division of labor, internal circulation, and so on. Because the pulse of the times will boost the economy, which is very important to China!


RCEP was initiated by the ten ASEAN countries and invited China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to join. This is the world’s largest free-trade zone with a population, economic scale, and total trade accounting for 30% of the world’s total. Bigger than the North American Free Trade Area and the EU Customs Union! Why is it important for China to sign RCEP? This should be from the following three aspects:


RCEP pushes the double loop to a new climax

Commodities, investments, technology, etc. circulate freely among member states. More than 90% of the goods will have zero tariffs. Many goods could not be exported in the past, because after tariffs are added, there will be no price advantage. However, from now on, the circulation of goods between countries will be like selling things from Zhejiang to Jiangsu. This will lead to the market size has greatly increased, and the main body of the internal loop has also been greatly expanded. The internal circulation is not a helpless strategy, but a national plan after foresight! After the full economic integration of Europe, Asia, and Africa in the future, China’s domestic circulation will cover 75% of the earth’s population and 75% of the market!


RCEP pushes the world economy to new development

After the RCEP was signed, the Japanese media said: “Japan will be out of the years of economic recession just around the corner.” South Korean President Moon Jae-in: I hope RCEP will help countries strengthen economic cooperation and jointly overcome the epidemic crisis. So some people say that Japan and South Korea have the biggest gains, while others say that the age of Asia has come.


For consumers, imported goods will be cheaper, and it will be more convenient to leave the country without a visa and visa on arrival; for producers, tariffs will be reduced, costs will be reduced, and there will be more room for profit. Industrial collaboration improves labor efficiency.


RCEP’s impact on China

It will bring a higher level of development and openness to China. While prices are rising, everyone is worried about whether large foreign factories will withdraw their factories because of the increase in labor prices in China. In fact, there is no need to worry, because the maturity of China’s 5G technology and the rapid development of artificial intelligence can perfectly solve the labor force. The problem of rising. Enhancing China’s economic radiation in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea has created more opportunities for the development of 5G technology in RCEP countries.


What common benefits can RCEP bring to allies?


  1. More balanced and pay attention to the trade rules of SMEs;
  2. Construct the value chain and supply chain in the region;
  3. Promote closer relations among China, Japan, and South Korea.


Therefore, it is very likely that e-commerce and service industries will rise substantially in the future. China’s transportation industry, global logistics,such as sea freight, air freight, and land transportation may rise, and the signing of the CAP agreement will greatly enhance regional trade and investment and promote economic growth in the Asia-Pacific and even the world. , Will effectively enhance the trade between China and ASEAN countries, Japan, South Korea, and other countries, and at the same time promote the increase of the company’s foreign trade import and export cargo throughput.


The benefits brought by RCEP will be beneficial to cross-border e-commerce, logistics, textiles, and garments, the Belt and Road Initiative, and port shipping will bring positive impacts!


In 2019, China’s import and export commodities mainly include electrical appliances, auto parts, optical precision instruments, steel, and crude oil. After the RCEP is signed, it will benefit from the automobile manufacturing, consumer electronics, steel, and non-ferrous metal industry chains. Especially the leading companies in the industry chain will directly enhance their global competitive advantage.