HAIKOU /China/, May 21. /TASS/. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CREP) will not only help develop the region's economy, but also boost global economic growth. Chi Fulin, head of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, said on Sunday.
"Currently, there are global geopolitical tensions, the economic structure is changing, production and supply chains are being disrupted," he said at the opening of an event titled "Jointly building the World's Largest Free Trade Area - The 2023 RCEP Media and Think Tank Forum" held in Haikou.
According to the expert, quoted by China Daily, "Under these circumstances, it is necessary to fully understand the significance of RCEP implementation from a global perspective, grasp the general trend and remove obstacles, and join efforts to build the world's largest high-level free trade zone."
"Collaborative development is the hallmark of RCEP. It will not only promote the inclusive development of regional economies, but also stimulate global economic growth," Chi Fulin said.
Development is RCEP's priority
The official pointed out that "RCEP's priority is the overall development of the region." He noted, however, that global economic growth could face serious challenges; according to the World Bank, between 2022 and 2030, average potential global GDP growth could fall by about a third from the rate that prevailed in the first decade of this century. However, if countries pursue "sustainable growth-oriented policies," global GDP growth rates could increase by 0.7 percentage points. According to Chi Fulin, "development or recession, cooperation or confrontation are the major choices facing the world today."
He also noted that RCEP is based on market principles and rules that will ensure long-term sustainable growth in the region. He added that the development of RCEP will demonstrate that regional economic cooperation based on market and rules is viable and dynamic.
According to Chi Fulin, RCEP "holds high the banner" of inclusive and cooperative development, which is the "aspiration and goal of free trade in the new era."
According to the expert, one of RCEP's key goals is high-level openness. Increased openness in the partnership would help enhance the region's economic development and contribute to a new model of global free trade, the official noted.
He also said that it is necessary to promote the conjunction and mutual integration of the RCEP and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
In addition, Chi Fulin stressed that RCEP members with the largest economies should promote the partnership. For example, China, South Korea and Japan are among the key members of RCEP, cooperation between them has prospects, countries should fulfill their obligations on economic and technological cooperation within the framework of the partnership.
The expert also noted that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China are the driving force behind the RCEP, and the free trade zone between them will serve as an important factor in achieving the goals of this broader economic association. According to him, ASEAN is the core of the RCEP and the market with the greatest potential in the world. He added that the free trade zone between China and ASEAN will help promote the openness of the partnership.
About the forum
The forum was organized by press office of the Publicity Department of CPC Hainan Provincial Committee, the China Daily newspaper and the Hainan branch of China Institute for Reform and Development Studies. More than 450 experts, diplomats, representatives of international organizations and media from China as well as Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Singapore, the Philippines, South Korea and the United Kingdom participated.
China and 14 other countries agreed to create the RCEP on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN summit on November 15, 2020. Fifteen nations participate in the trade agreement: Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. They account for one-third of global GDP.
The RCEP is expected to gradually reduce or eliminate the already low trade fees between members over 20 years. Some countries in the partnership already have their own free trade agreements, but they work with certain reservations.