Asian tonic to recover from Covid19: the RCEP Agreement

On November 15th 2020 the ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam) and Australia, China, Japan, New Zeeland, South Korea have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
The agreement in its 20 chapters lays the first stone for the building of a vast free trade zone that will be regulated by shared rules on trade of goods and services, financial services, telecommunications, investments, intellectual property, electronic commerce, and public procurements. This effect however will only be fully accomplished gradually in the years following the coming into force of RECEP, that is after ratification of at least six ASEAN Countries and 3 non ASEAN Countries.
After the coming into force of the Agreement accession will be open to any State after eighteen months (except for India that may access from the date of the coming into force of the Agreement).
The more immediate effect of the Agreement is to create an example of a frame work that seeks to establish a mutually beneficial economic partnership to facilitate regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development taking into account the stage of development and economic needs of the different countries.
RCEP goes beyond the existing bilateral FTA agreements already operating between many of its signatories, it is the first trade agreement that includes all three China, Japan and South Korea and in part overlaps with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership that has lost much of its meaning since the withdrawal of U.S.A.
What will be the effect of RCEP on business with Europe ?
Europe has been one of the main sources of foreign investment with many European companies producing and trading in the RCEP area, with a very effective EU FTA agreement. It is foreseeable that RCEP will operate so as to enhance these relations.
European companies that have established production in a member state and are trading across this area will benefit from the new rules on the origin of goods (chapter 3) that will simplify the circulation of goods that have parts originating from different countries in the area; from the rules that aim at promoting consistency and transparency in the application of customs laws and regulations (chapter 4); from the rules on standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment that recognize international standards; from the rules on investments that provide for a work program for an investor-state dispute settlement provision (chapter 10); from the rules on intellectual property rights (chapter 11) that appear to provide stricter protection for intellectual property rights than the WTO agreement (TRIPS).
In the post Covid Scenario RCE is a clear sign against protectionism and stresses the new dynamics of business which point to the growing importance of Central Asia and the South Pacific and the need of European business to develop strategies to operate efficiently on these markets. All this means that business concerns, ranging from the Italian artisan that trades luxury goods to the heavy industry, will need capable advisors.
The family of PLG International Lawyers offers the structure to serve these clients.