RCEP brings sound benefits to Zhejiang enterprises

International Business News  –  With the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on Jan 1, 2022, numerous development opportunities await foreign trade enterprises in East China’s Zhejiang province.

As the RCEP promotes regional and multilateral trade integration by lowering trade barriers through tariff and non-tariff measures, the agreement is expected to see more than 90 percent of traded goods within the region be subjected to zero tariffs.

Just two days after the implementation of the RCEP, the Hangzhou Customs issued 45 certificates of origin to 22 enterprises. The goods from these enterprises, which were mainly metal products, seafood, flowers, textiles and clothing, were worth 19.03 million yuan ($2.99 million) and were set for Japan and Australia. These enterprises are expected to enjoy about 570,000 yuan in tariff reductions.

Zhejiang province has had a stable relationship with RCEP member countries. Statistics show that from January to November 2021, the total trade value between the province and RCEP member countries grew 19.4 percent year-on-year to 948.61 billion yuan, accounting for 25.2 percent of Zhejiang’s total foreign trade value.

Zhejiang’s exports to RCEP member countries are mainly electromechanical, labor-intensive products, and high-tech products, while its imports from RCEP member countries are mainly resource products.

In addition to lowering tariffs, the RCEP also covers more than 100 sub-sectors of international trade in services, including finance, telecommunications, transportation, tourism, and research and development. Within six years from the implementation of the agreement, intra-regional trade in services will be switched from a positive list to a negative list, meaning that the opening of international trade in services is expected to become more stable.

“The RCEP will facilitate the restructuring of industrial chains of countries in the region, especially the industrial chains of China, Japan and South Korea,” said Ding Shufeng, dean of the Zhejiang Academy of Commerce.

“For the ASEAN market, Zhejiang has advantages in cross-border services such as information transmission and software and information technology, and the implementation of the RCEP will further help related Zhejiang enterprises go abroad,” said Zhuang Jin, an official from the Zhejiang provincial department of commerce.

The RCEP, which was signed by 15 Asia Pacific countries that account for about 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, trade and population, will offer a strong boost to international trade and investment and contribute to global economic recovery. The agreement was signed on Nov 15, 2020 after eight years of negotiations.