Published: 12:57, March 26, 2021 | Updated: 21:23, June 4, 2023
RCEP set to streamline supply chains, inspection standards
By Zhong Nan

The implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement will further facilitate the integration of the regional supply chain and the setting of goods-inspection standards among participating countries, government officials said on Thursday.

The General Administration of Customs has begun to draft rules of origin and is set to conclude technical preparations at home within six months while negotiating with foreign parties

Vice-Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said RCEP participant countries have decided to call a joint committee meeting every two months for updates on domestic ratification procedures. China and Thailand are the first of the 15 signatories to ratify the pact, which is scheduled to take effect on Jan 1.

Once the RCEP takes effect, mutual trade and investment and the level of economic integration among members will increase, he said.

The strength and resilience of the countries' industrial chain will also be reinforced, Wang added.

READ MORE: China: RCEP to boost service trade of member countries

The vice-minister said local and global companies will enjoy a regional business environment of fewer investment barriers and low tariffs. The implementation of the agreement will help the regional supply chain better respond to external impacts.

The Japanese government said last week that its economy could be boosted by 15 trillion yen (US$137.5 billion), thanks to the RCEP deal, which was signed last year by 15 countries.

According to the Japanese government, based on the country's real gross domestic product in fiscal year 2019, the expected economic effect of the RCEP, which will cover a third of global trade and population, could correspond to a GDP increase of about 2.7 percent.

The General Administration of Customs has begun to draft rules of origin and is set to conclude technical preparations at home within six months while negotiating with foreign parties.

Rules of origin are the criteria needed to determine the national source of a product. Their importance is derived from the fact that duties and restrictions can depend on the source of imports. Government practices regarding rules of origin vary widely, according to information from the World Trade Organization.

These efforts will ensure smooth implementation when the RCEP agreement takes effect, said Jiang Feng, director-general of the General Administration of Customs' Department of Duty Collection.

The GAC is developing management measures for this area, including stipulating the eligibility of goods of origin, application for benefits, and certificates of origin, she said.

In order to adapt to the new circumstances next year, many government branches are poised to refine the country's manufacturing quality standards and rules in line with international industrial standards and brace for raising the bar and adjusting rules, in a bid to further open up the services industry, said He Yaqiong, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

In addition to boosting cross-border e-commerce, the RCEP will also feature a commitment to opening up trade in services involving more than 100 sectors, including finance, telecommunications, transportation, tourism and research and development.

This sector will support the growth of businesses during the post-pandemic era, as well as promote people-to-people exchanges within the region, said Yu Benlin, director-general of the Department of International Economic and Trade Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.

ALSO READ: China on course to fulfill all RCEP obligations

China's exports to other RCEP participants amounted to US$700.7 billion in 2020, accounting for 27 percent of its total exports, while its RCEP partners shipped US$777.9 billion worth of goods to the Chinese market, accounting for 37.8 percent of China's total imports, data from the ministry showed.

The RCEP deal will help enable easier business and cooperation across borders and create an increasingly transparent, stable and predictable trade and investment environment in the region, said CK Tan, vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region at Lubrizol Corp, the United States-based specialty chemical product manufacturer.

The trend will deliver many strategic and commercial benefits to multinational companies in China and its partner economies in the coming years, he added.