Is the RCEP competition for the TPP?

By Mei Xinyu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 18, 2014
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The sudden reversal in capital flow to advanced economies has put great pressure on Asian emerging market economies. The political turmoil in Thailand and social instability in other Asian countries have increased the economic slowdown in the region. Even in China some of the important economic indicators have dropped. There are increasingly predictions that China is on the verge of a terrible economic crisis.

The deciding factor [By Jiao Haiyang/]

The good news is, against the common practice of promoting trade protectionism during the economic downturn, most of the Asian major economies have chosen a greater degree of openness. After seven years of negotiation, Japan and Australia completed their Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations and sealed a trade deal. China and Australia recently also agreed to accelerate talks about a free trade agreement (FTA).

At the fourth round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks concluded on April 4 in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, all 10 members of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the six FTA partners -- China, Japan, South Korea, India, New Zealand and Australia, conducted intensive consultations on a wide range of issues including goods, services, investment and a protocol framework and achieved positive progress. The RCEP negotiations were also a hot topic at the recently concluded 2014 Boao Forum for Asia.

It's understandable that countries in the region have high expectations for the RCEP talks. RCEP is the largest free-trade bloc in Asia. Like APEC, the operation of the negotiations emphasizes flexibility, progressiveness and openness. Its member countries cover 50 percent of the world's population and constitute 30 percent of global GDP and the global trade volume. A larger and highly unified market will promote the prosperity of the region, and enhance the capacity of economies within the region to withstand the current uncertainty in the global economy.

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