RCEP countries should strengthen cross-border e-commerce to accelerate cooperation

International Business News – On August 26, 2022 World Cross-border E-Commerce Conference with the theme of “Cross-border Digitalization and RCEP Development” was held in Nansha, Guangzhou. Xu Ningning, Executive Director of China-ASEAN Business Council and Chairman of RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee, said in his keynote speech that the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) has a special chapter on “e-commerce”, highlighting the importance of e-commerce in regional open development. There are conditions and necessities for e-commerce, and the most urgent task is to strengthen and accelerate the docking cooperation.

Xu Ningning said that Chapter 12 of the twenty chapters of the RCEP Agreement is on e-commerce, with seventeen articles, the objectives of which are: to promote e-commerce among the parties, as well as the wider use of e-commerce globally; to work to create an environment of trust and confidence in the use of e-commerce; and to strengthen cooperation among the parties in the development of e-commerce. Xu Ningning talked about the RCEP agreement, in addition to the provisions of electronic authentication and signature, online consumer protection, online personal information protection, network security, cross-border electronic means of information transmission and other provisions, China also for the first time in line with China’s laws and regulations in the premise of the FTA to include data flow, information storage and other provisions.

The e-commerce chapter of RCEP is the first comprehensive and high-level plurilateral e-commerce rule outcome reached in the Asia-Pacific region. The contents of the chapter will provide institutional safeguards for members to strengthen cooperation in the field of e-commerce, help create a favorable environment for the development of e-commerce, enhance mutual trust in policies, mutual recognition of regulations and interoperability of enterprises in the field of e-commerce among members, and will greatly promote the development of e-commerce in the region. Xu Ningning suggested that RCEP countries should work together to implement the e-commerce provisions.

Xu Ningning talked about the measures required for the development of cross-border e-commerce in the action programs or action plans formulated and being implemented by domestic provinces and cities to seize the opportunities of RCEP. For example, the Action Plan of Guangzhou Municipality on Implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) clearly proposes to promote regional cross-border e-commerce market integration, encourage enterprises in a position to do so to build overseas warehouses and overseas operation centers and other service facilities in the RCEP regional market, integrate into the e-commerce retail system of other RCEP countries, provide specialized customs clearance, tax rebates and foreign exchange settlement for enterprises going abroad to RCEP Foreign trade comprehensive services, encourage enterprises to strengthen the RCEP-oriented offshore economic and trade business, including offshore processing trade. Xu Ningning suggested that domestic provincial and municipal governments should implement action plans or action plans to seize RCEP opportunities, and develop RCEP regional cross-border e-commerce cooperation in an innovative and pragmatic manner.

Xu Ningning talked about the fact that ASEAN attaches great importance to the development of cross-border e-commerce and is implementing the Action Plan 2019-2025. ASEAN e-commerce sales are expected to grow by 18% this year to reach US$38.2 billion. Indonesia, as the largest e-commerce market in the ASEAN region, is expected to reach $9 billion in e-commerce sales this year.

Xu Ningning pointed out that responding to the new normal, developing new business models and exploring new modes are the vitality of China-ASEAN economic cooperation and development. China-ASEAN digital economy cooperation and the joint construction of the Digital Silk Road are important development highlights for both sides. The digital economy cooperation between the two sides is highly complementary. In the past three years under the occurrence of the new crown epidemic, China and ASEAN have mutually become the largest foreign trade partners, cross-border e-commerce cooperation has played an important role in promoting cross-border e-commerce cooperation between the two sides has become increasingly active and close, and the demand for business cooperation is strong.

At present, China-ASEAN is each other’s largest trading partner constitutes favorable conditions for the development of cross-border e-commerce cooperation, which brings a lot of demand and business opportunities, and it is the right time for both sides to cooperate. Xu Ningning suggested that both sides should actively implement the cooperation contents of China-ASEAN Action Plan (2021-2025) on cross-border e-commerce, the China-ASEAN Initiative on Establishing Digital Economy Partnership and other consensus, implement bilateral cooperation and multilateral cooperation to promote each other, and accelerate the establishment of the promotion of cross-border e-commerce development At the same time, the cross-border e-commerce industry and the logistics industry, the financial industry, the advertising industry, the business consulting industry and other related industries have enhanced cooperation to jointly support enterprises to promote cross-border e-commerce cooperation and help achieve regional economic growth recovery.

As one of the first national cross-border e-commerce comprehensive pilot zones, Guangzhou has been the first in the country in terms of retail import scale for eight consecutive years and ranked first in the country in the Ministry of Commerce’s 2021 assessment. Nansha District is the early and pilot implementation of China’s RCEP agreement on cross-border e-commerce. 2021 Nansha cross-border e-commerce import and export value of more than 36 billion yuan, an increase of 70%, to promote the total value of foreign trade imports and exports in Guangzhou accounted for more than 1/4. currently, Guangzhou Nansha Development Zone (Nansha Area of Free Trade Zone) is implementing pilot measures to further deepen reform and expand openness in line with RCEP. Xu Ningning said that China-ASEAN Business Council and RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee will actively assist all parties concerned to promote RCEP cross-border e-commerce cooperation.

The meeting was hosted by China Association of Trade in Services and China (Guangzhou) Comprehensive Pilot Zone for Cross-border E-Commerce. Luo Fuhe, Vice Chairman of the 11th and 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Lu Yixian, Member of the Standing Committee of Guangzhou Municipal Committee and Secretary of Nansha District Committee, Chai Xiaolin, Director of Trade in Services and Investment Division of the World Trade Organization, Wang Xiaojun, Director of the Fund of the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation, and David Zhang, Vice Chairman and Secretary General of China Center for International Economic Exchanges, successively delivered speeches. Mr. Yi Xiaozhun, former Vice Minister of Ministry of Commerce and former Deputy Director-General of WTO, Mr. Lin Yifu, Counsellor of the State Council and famous economist, Mr. Tang Min, Counsellor of the State Council, Mr. Xu Ningning and Mr. Chen Gang, Executive Vice President of New Egg Group China made keynote speeches. The conference released the “Report on the Development of Cross-border E-Commerce in Chinese Cities in 2021”, “Specifications for the Operation and Service Management of Cross-border E-Commerce Overseas Warehouse”, “Innovative Experiences of Cities in Cross-border E-Commerce and Digital Innovation South-South Cooperation”, and “Specifications for the Construction of Industry-Education Integration in Cross-border E-Commerce”.