China, Japan, and South Korea sign the mega trade bloc RCEP
Kanako Mita and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
China, Japan, and South Korea – along with twelve other nations – signed the mega trade bloc called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Hence, the largest free-trade bloc in the world cements the Asia-Pacific. Therefore, this grouping is further evidence of the real goal that makes this dynamic region tick.
It further highlights that China’s role – and Japan’s economic ambitions – will be tackled within the Asia Pacific and outside the power mechanisms of America. Of course, for Japan, this equally applies to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The Trade Minister of Japan, Hiroshi Kajiyama, uttered, “Through the tariff removals, I believe there’ll be a major impact on improving Japan’s exports and making the region’s supply chains more efficient.”
A spokesperson for the Finance Ministry of China said, “For the first time, China and Japan reached a bilateral tariff reduction arrangement, achieving a historic breakthrough.”
The trade pact will account for approximately 30 percent of the international economy. Hence, the reach of 2.2 billion consumers within RCEP will focus on innovation within supply chains, the reduction of tariffs, and other important areas including e-commerce regulations.
Reuters reports, “RCEP groups the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. It aims in coming years to progressively lower tariffs across many areas.”
It remains to be seen if India will join at a future date after pulling out of RCEP talks late last year. However, according to ASEAN nations – and with Japan having good relations with India – the possibility remains for India to join at a later date.
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