Participants of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement pledged on Wednesday that they will expedite the pact's implementation procedures and make policy arrangements in advance to help companies from all sides to share the benefits as soon as possible.
With many RCEP members beginning to offer authoritative interpretations to their business communities to make the agreement a reality, government officials from countries including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia, said they will help companies make full use of preferential policies brought by the pact to boost regional economic integration in East Asia and support the global economic recovery.
"China has already started the approval process for the RCEP agreement, and plans to conclude all the preparatory work and get the green light at home in six months," said Yang Zhengwei, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Commerce's Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs.
The Vietnamese government has accelerated the internal approval pace for the RCEP, and deployed more resources to explain the pact's terms to companies and business associations, said Dao Viet Anh, commercial counselor at the embassy of Vietnam in China.
When the RCEP is officially implemented, it is expected to generate 1 percent of GDP growth for Malaysia. It will not only create broader spaces for teamwork, but also enhance the supply and industrial chains in the region, said See Chee Kong, minister of economic affairs at the embassy of Malaysia in China.
Since the implementation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement, or CAFTA, in 2010, trade in goods and services between China and the ASEAN has grown rapidly through deeper integration of industrial and value chains. Tariffs on 7,000 products have been scrapped under the CAFTA framework.
Compared with the CAFTA, the RCEP constitutes a bigger market so it means bigger trading opportunities. All of this will contribute to more trade, development and improvement in people's livelihoods, said the Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana.
"The documents regarding the RCEP are expected to be submitted to the parliament in January next year, and the parliamentary procedures will be completed within a few months. We hope that it can be approved soon," said Shigekazu Fukunaga, a counselor at the embassy of Japan in China.
The RCEP agreement covers a market of 2.2 billion people, equivalent to 30 percent of the global population, with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion, or about 30 percent of the world GDP.
Zhang Shaogang, vice-chairman of the Beijing-based China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said the participating economies of the RCEP will be able to further advance the regional trade and investment agenda, as their commitment to the pursuit of free and open trade and investment is made more imperative amid the world's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Best Inc, a Chinese integrated supply chain and logistics solutions provider, will start operating a 35,000-square-meter sorting center in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Thursday. The site is expected to create over 1,000 jobs over the next two to three years.
With $8 million investment, the facility incorporates a wide range of sorting and scanning technologies that provide increased sorting capacity and less manual processing of shipments. The center is capable of handling up to 1 million parcels per day, the highest parcel processing capacity in the country, said Johnny Chou, chairman and CEO of Best Inc.
The implementation of the RCEP arrangements will provide strong impetus for improvement in China's business environment, eradicate institutional barriers, and expand the scale of market access, he said.
Since 2019, Best has established express delivery networks in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia and Singapore, where it is seeing volumes surge along with the rapid growth in e-commerce. The Hangzhou-headquartered company reported an eightfold jump in packages in these markets in the third quarter of this year.