The growing tension with the United States, resulting in a trade conflict, does not prevent China from entering into partnership agreements with other countries. So, in November in the capital of Vietnam, Hanoi, a grandiose free trade agreement was signed. Its grandeur lies in the fact that, in fact, it has become the largest in the world, because the document, in addition to China, was signed by Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, as well as all the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. This organization includes Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, and Cambodia.
The new agreement is called the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership or RCEP. It is noteworthy that together with China, which is the second-largest world economy, the share of RCEP signatories together makes up about a third of the world economy – 29%. In fairness, it should be noted that their share is still inferior to that of the EU (33%), but the growth dynamics of the economies of Southeast Asia are much greater, and therefore experts predict RCEP will bypass the EU indicators shortly. Also, significantly more people live in the partner countries of the new agreement than in the Europe.
What exactly gives RCEP
First, under the terms of the new agreement, customs duties are significantly reduced. Secondly, RCEP clearly spelled out unified trade rules leading to the optimization of supply chains for goods and raw materials. The new agreement covers the following areas of the economy: trade, services, Internet commerce, telecom, and copyright protection.
Economists consider the RCEP a clear success of the Chinese leadership because it was concluded during the trade confrontation with the United States, which has significant political and economic weight in Southeast Asia.