Progress on biggest multilateral trade deal in history

08:40 | 04/09/2019 Cooperation

(VEN) - At the Eighth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting that took place recently in Beijing, China, participating countries agreed to wrap up market opening negotiations and intensify efforts towards the signing of the deal in Vietnam next year. 

progress on biggest multilateral trade deal in history

The Trade Ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and six partners: China, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand affirmed their determination to finish RCEP negotiations in 2019, believing this modern, comprehensive and high-quality agreement will benefit all parties involved.

The ministers praised efforts by heads of negotiating delegations, especially in the last three sessions, to narrow the gaps in negotiations on market opening and rules. More than two thirds of negotiations on market access have achieved mutually satisfactory results. Negotiations on other fields are being accelerated. Three appendixes on telecoms, financial and professional services and seven chapters have been finalized.

However, a consensus on some matters related to trade in services has not been reached, while India is calling for greater flexibility by member countries in this field.

Accounting for 47.4 percent of the global population, 29.1 percent of global trade and 32.5 percent of global investment flows, the ministers emphasized that RCEP negotiations are the most important trade agenda in the region.

If negotiations are completed later this year as expected, the RCEP will be the biggest multilateral trade deal in history. It will create a large free trade area with about 3.5 billion consumers, including Vietnam’s major export partners and material suppliers such as China and the RoK.

Experts believe the harmonization of rules of origin and trade facilitation regulations in the RCEP will create new regional value chains and enable businesses to take greater advantage of tariff preferences. Once the RCEP is signed, export taxes applied to Vietnamese businesses will range from 0-5 percent. However, to be eligible for export tax preferences, domestic companies need to prove the Vietnamese origin of materials used to make their products.

At the Eighth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Intersessional Ministerial Meeting, Vietnam contributed

practical solutions to existing bottlenecks towards the goal of completing negotiations later this year.

Nguyen Huong