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RCEP is coming into force!

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The ASEAN Secretariat has announced that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) has reached the threshold for the agreement to enter into force and will enter into force on January 1, 2022 for the six ASEAN member countries, including Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and the four non-ASEAN member countries, including China, Japan, New Zealand and Australia, which have formally submitted their instruments of approval. The entry into force of the agreement will give new impetus to the regional integration process in East Asia and provide a strong boost to regional economic development.

The entry into force of the agreement will further promote intra-regional free trade, stabilize the supply chain of the industrial chain, and give impetus to the economic recovery of the East Asian region in the post-epidemic era. In the past year, the new epidemic has been repeatedly delayed in many countries in East Asia, and many countries have sought to reopen their economies, considering RCEP as an important guarantee for their own and regional economic recovery. ASEAN Secretary-General Lin Yuhui said the rapid completion of the RCEP approval process by member countries is a true reflection of their commitment to a multilateral trading system that is fair, open and beneficial to the region and the world. After the agreement comes into effect, higher levels of openness, larger markets and better policies will give rise to more new development opportunities and potential. According to the U.S. Peterson Institute for International Economics, the RCEP is expected to drive a net increase of $519 billion in member countries' exports and $186 billion in national income by 2030.

The entry into force of the agreement will push China's cooperation with ASEAN to a new level. in November 2020, in the face of the headwinds of economic globalization and the rise of unilateralism and protectionism, the 15 RCEP member countries formally signed the agreement to establish the world's largest free trade area, taking practical actions to safeguard the multilateral trading system and build an open world economy. China actively participated in the RCEP negotiations and took the lead among non-ASEAN members in completing the approval of the agreement, demonstrating its firm support for the centrality of ASEAN with practical actions. In the wake of the outbreak, China and ASEAN have been in the same boat and have been helping each other, and the relationship has been further sublimated. This year coincides with the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue, trade exchanges between the two sides continue to maintain strong growth momentum, and two-way investment cooperation is flourishing. The entry into force of the agreement will promote China's economic integration with ASEAN to go deeper and deeper, and mutually beneficial and win-win results will continue to emerge.

The entry into force of the agreement will promote China's high-level opening to the outside world and further increase the level of China's opening in the service sector, providing more development opportunities for ASEAN and the world. According to the agreement, China will open up 22 new service sectors on top of the 100 service sectors it committed to open up upon accession to the WTO. Now, the global economy is shrouded by the epidemic and trade and investment opportunities are scarce, the 4th China International Import Expo is on schedule, once again demonstrating China's strong will to continuously expand and open up, seek mutual benefits and win-win, and share development opportunities with the world as a great power.

The RCEP will enter into force as scheduled, once again reflecting the trend of regional economic integration and openness and cooperation in East Asia. It is expected that all parties will take the entry into force of the agreement as an opportunity to deepen regional economic cooperation in East Asia, join hands to promote economic recovery and prosperity in the post-epidemic region, benefit regional countries and people, and make new contributions to building the East Asian community.