The past seven days have really changed the world
Looking back on this past week many years later, you will find that many events have extremely far-reaching implications, not only about a country or region, but also about the global landscape.
1. This week, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) was officially signed after eight years of marathon negotiations.
On November 15, the world’s largest free trade agreement to date was born.
The quality of RCEP exceeds the expectations of many analysts. Under the agreement, after the entry into force of the RCEP, more than 90% of the goods trade in the region will eventually achieve zero tariffs, and many of them will be implemented immediately. In terms of trade in services, RCEP15 members have also made opening commitments higher than their respective “10+1” free trade agreements. Among them, China’s opening-up commitment has reached the highest level of existing free trade agreements.
Considering that the economic development level and size of the RCEP15 members vary greatly, and the per capita GDP ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 US dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, it is not easy to work together to reach such a high-level open agreement.
As a huge free trade agreement with a total population, economy volume and total trade accounting for about 30% of the global total, the signing of RCEP has a significant impact on China, the Asia-Pacific region and the world economy as a whole.
For China, RCEP can further close trade and investment exchanges with ASEAN, consolidate its dominant position in the supply chain pattern of the global industrial chain, improve the ability to allocate resources in both international and domestic markets in a higher level of competition, and help economic development;
For Asia-Pacific, the signing of the RCEP will greatly accelerate the process of regional economic integration. In the words of Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy Representative of International Trade Negotiations, the signing of the RCEP is the “most important achievement” in the past 20 years of East Asian economic integration.
For the world, RCEP will become a new growth pole.
According to the estimates of well-known international think tanks, by 2025, RCEP is expected to drive member countries’ exports, outward investment stock and GDP to increase by 10.4%, 2.6% and 1.8% more than the baseline, respectively. Many members of RCEP occupy an important position in the world economy, and the accelerated recovery of their economies is bound to help the global economy get out of the impact of the epidemic as soon as possible.
Gao Lingyun, a researcher at the Institute of World Economy and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the signing of the RCEP will further consolidate Asia’s position as an engine of world economic growth and accelerate the convergence of global high-quality resources and factors of production into Asia.
More notably, there are many “chain reactions” in the signing of RCEP.
For example, some important trade or investment agreements being negotiated by China will speed up.
Gao Feng, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said recently that China and the EU are accelerating the negotiation process through continuous intensive negotiations and achieving positive results in accordance with the consensus confirmed by leaders to complete the negotiations within the year.
He also said that the signing of RCEP created “good conditions” for accelerating the negotiation of the China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. China is willing to work with Japan and South Korea to accelerate the negotiation of China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement and strive to achieve substantive results as soon as possible.
China will also take this opportunity to negotiate free trade agreements with more developed economies.
Gao Feng said that China is “positively open” to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP). He also said that China is willing to start the China-EU free trade agreement process at an early date on the basis of reaching a China-EU investment agreement.
If all of this is realized, it means that the proportion of developed economies in China’s free trade zone network will increase significantly, and the “gold content” will also be greatly increased. This is of great significance for China to improve the quality of economic development and deepen institutional opening up.
2. This week, the BRICS countries have worked together to do a lot of big things.
The more the world economy “black clouds crush the city” and the more dangerous factors that threaten international political and economic stability, such as unilateralism and protectionism are increasing, the more it is necessary for some countries to act as “anchor of stability”. The BRICS countries, including China, Russia, Brazil, India and South Africa, have played this role.
This week, a series of important outcomes were reached during the 12th meeting of BRICS leaders, such as:
– Reach a consensus on strengthening international anti-epidemic cooperation, decide to ensure the circulation of key materials, and minimize the interference of the epidemic on international economic and trade cooperation;
– Commit to safeguard the multilateral trading system, support the necessary reforms of the multilateral trading system and the WTO, and work together to restore the normal operation of the WTO;
— Approve the BRICS Investment Facilitation Understanding and the Guidelines for Promoting the Effective Participation of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises in International Trade, and propose many measures such as regular exchanges, simplify the requirements and procedures applicable to domestic and foreign investors, and allow stakeholders to submit opinions and proposals in the drafting process of investment laws and regulations. Provide more convenience and protection of rights and interests for enterprises to invest in other member countries.
Whether it is to cooperate in the fight against the epidemic, or to work together to reduce obstacles to trade and investment among members, or to jointly support the multilateral trading system, these BRICS actions have responded to the needs of the current situation, and are also a reflection of their responsibility for the long-term development of mankind. They are on the right side of history.
Analysts said that the BRICS countries firmly safeguard the rules-centered multilateral trading system, maintained the security and smooth supply chain of the industrial chain, and improved the level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. It is to say “No” to undermine the basic norms of international relations and encourage “economic decoupling” with practical actions, which is conducive to maintaining the world. Peace and tranquility, promote economic globalization to revive.
3. This week, APEC completed a “small goal” and put forward a new “plan”.
This small goal is the “Borce Target” proposed at the informal meeting of APEC leaders in 1994, which requires developed members to liberalize trade and investment by 2010 and developing members by 2020.
After 26 years, the 27th informal meeting of leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) announced the completion of the Bogor target.
Yang Zhengwei, deputy director of the International Department of the Ministry of Commerce, said that in the 26 years since the implementation of the Bogor target, Asia-Pacific trade investment has grown rapidly, with trade volume increasing fivefold, with an average annual growth rate of 6.7%; two-way investment has increased 12 times, with an average annual growth rate of more than 10%. The level of liberalization facilitation has increased significantly, the average regional tariff level has been reduced from 13.9% to 5.2%, and the cost and time of trade have fallen significantly.
What does this mean? This means that multilateralism, free trade and regional economic integration are important driving forces for the rapid economic development of Asia-Pacific, and are also principles that must be adhered to in the long run regardless of the situation in the future.
This principle is clearly reflected in the newly formulated APEC Butragaya Vision 2040. The vision proposes that in terms of trade and investment, APEC will continue to support the multilateral trading system, promote regional economic integration, and promote comprehensive and high standards of Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area.
In the future, the Asia-Pacific economic integration process is expected to be further accelerated.
Wang Shouwen said that now that the RCEP has been signed, and with the CPTPP, which has been in effect for two years, the two paths of the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area have taken shape. In the future, China will work with APEC economies to promote the Asia-Pacific Free Trade Area from vision to reality.
The past week has been a week that has fully demonstrated the belief in multilateralism, free trade and economic globalization, and also a week in which the concept of win-win cooperation has been promoted. This will inject more certainty and “positive energy” into the unprecedented changes in a hundred years of accelerated evolution.