RCEP creates new impetus for regional trade co-op

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 03, 2023

Photo taken on March 2, 2022 shows a container terminal of Qinzhou Port in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.(Xinhua)

NANNING, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) -- While most people were enjoying a good rest to usher in the New Year with joy, warehouses in Guangxi Wuzhou Rixin Plastics Industrial Co., Ltd. were moving into top gear for a new consignment of exports.

Nearly 80,000 plastic clothes pegs and hangers were being packed in the company in the city of Wuzhou, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. These products will be shipped to Japan right after the New Year holiday.

"We've maintained trade with companies from Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore for years. In 2022, we applied for 218 certificates of origin under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and enjoyed a tariff reduction of about 250,000 yuan (about 35,900 U.S. dollars), which significantly strengthened the competitiveness of our products," said Gan Huizhen, the general manager.

The RCEP reduced the export costs, enabled the company's products to have greater price advantages, and increased the number of its overseas orders by 15 percent year on year, Gan added.

The RCEP, which entered into force on Jan. 1, 2022, comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including 10 ASEAN member states and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, and New Zealand.

From January to November, China's trade with the other RCEP members expanded 7.9 percent year on year to 11.8 trillion yuan, accounting for 30.7 percent of China's total foreign trade value, according to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC).

Gu Xueming, head of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the MOC, said since its entry into force, the RCEP has had a positive impact on regional economic development.

"The economic and trade cooperation between China and other RCEP member countries has achieved remarkable results. The RCEP has played an important role in stabilizing foreign trade and foreign investment, helping enterprises expand the global market," Gu said.

In the first 11 months of 2022, Nanning Customs in Guangxi issued 1,696 certificates of origin under the RCEP, with a value of 754 million yuan.

The average import tariff of relevant parts imported from Japan and ROK by machinery manufacturer Guangxi Liugong Machinery Co., Ltd. has dropped from 6 percent to 4.8 percent, which has helped the company effectively reduce the overall operating cost and thus improve and optimize the level of machinery manufacturing.

"In the first 11 months of 2022, we sold nearly 20,000 complete machines overseas. Over 4,000 sets were sold to the RCEP member states, registering an increase of 50 percent from a year ago," said Du Pengqing, the company's overseas strategy director.

"The signing and implementation of the RCEP will make important contributions to regional, global trade and investment growth, and economic recovery," said Hong Junjie, vice president of the University of International Business and Economics.

Hong noted that the RCEP has built a good platform for regional cooperation, which fully reflects the common interests of all RCEP parties and their confidence and determination to uphold multilateralism and free trade.

With the RCEP, "we have seen the commitment of member countries' trying to liberalize and facilitate trade among member countries as well as the facilitation of regional supply chain," said Auramon Supthaweethum, director-general of the Department of Trade Negotiations under Thailand's Ministry of Commerce, adding that the RCEP has helped enhance the country's trade with RCEP member countries, which accounts for around 60 percent of Thailand's total foreign trade volume.

Shu Jueting, China's MOC spokesperson, said that more efforts will be made to promote the high-quality implementation of the RCEP and other free trade agreements, make full use of such agreements, and improve their comprehensive utilization efficiency.

The ministry will also conclude free trade agreements with more trading partners, further open China's trade in goods, services, and investment markets, and take an active part in negotiations on new rules for the digital economy and environmental protection, Shu said.

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