Qingdao initiative launched to promote early implementation of RCEP deal

Aerial photo taken on April 26, 2020 shows HMM Algeciras docking at Qingdao Port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province. HMM Algeciras, the largest container vessel on earth with a TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) capacity of 24,000, started its maiden voyage from the port of Qingdao on Sunday. (Xinhua/Li Ziheng). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

QINGDAO, Apr 26, 2021, Xinhua. A joint initiative on promoting early implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has been launched in the east China port city of Qingdao on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

Trade and investment promotion organizations and business associations of the RCEP members have agreed to co-initiate the Qingdao Initiative on Jointly Promoting RCEP Regional Economic and Trade Cooperation, with a view to supporting an open, inclusive, transparent, non-discriminatory, and rules-based multilateral trading regime.

In the context of the severe impact of COVID-19 on the world economy, RCEP will vigorously promote regional prosperity and stability, and bring momentum to speeding up world economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, according to the initiative.

The initiative suggests members integrate high-quality resources and restructure the supply and value chains, develop RCEP as a service platform, and actively help enterprises create new markets and expand business in member countries.

It also appeals members to support pilot reforms introduced by relevant local governments in member countries and promote development of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as economic and technical cooperation.

China has taken the lead in ratifying the RCEP agreement, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said in late March.

All members of the RCEP are planning to ratify the agreement before the end of this year and push for it to become effective on Jan. 1, 2022, MOC official Yu Benlin said at an online training activity on RCEP.

The RCEP is the world’s largest free trade zone across a wide assortment of indicators, and its 15 member states are home to 2.27 billion people, with a total GDP of 26 trillion U.S. dollars and total exports of 5.2 trillion U.S. dollars.

Experts and government officials hailed the RCEP agreement at an ongoing high-level forum on economic and trade cooperation among RCEP members held in Qingdao.

The signing of the RCEP agreement will vigorously promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, deepen regional economic integration, and consolidate industrial, supply, data and talent chains, said Gao Yan, chairperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

It will also inject vitality into the world economy, which is experiencing a marked rise in instability and uncertainty, Gao added.

Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, said the RCEP agreement will be a catalyst for the country’s economic development.

More investment will go into areas that are important to the Philippines, such as research and development in the manufacturing industry, financial services, game development and e-commerce, Lopez added.

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