China mutually implements RCEP agreement with 13 other signatories

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) entered into force for Indonesia on Monday. At this point, China has mutually implemented agreements with 13 of the other 14 RCEP members, among which 10 are from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), along with Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

The entry into force of the RCEP for Indonesia is an important step toward its full implementation. It will inject new impetus into regional economic integration, regional and global economic growth, and further promote regional industrial and supply chain cooperation, read a statement on the website of China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) published on Tuesday.

Under the RCEP, on the basis of the agreements under the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, Indonesia has granted zero tariff treatment to over 700 additional Chinese products, including some auto parts, motorcycles, televisions, clothing, shoes, plastic products, luggage and chemical products.

Some products immediately enjoyed zero tariffs from Monday and other products will be gradually moved to zero tariffs within an agreed transition period, according to MOFCOM.

According to a report from the Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday, customs in Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality have already issued the city’s first RCEP certificate of origin for a local company, which exported a batch of rammers to Indonesia.

Customs in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang Province also issued a first batch of RCEP certificates of origin in the province on Monday.

According to a Jiaxing-based enterprise in Zhejiang, its major export product sent to Indonesia – PVC shrink film – now enjoys zero tariffs, down from the original tariff of 10 percent, which was then reduced to 5 percent under the China-ASEAN free trade agreement.

Agreements under the RCEP have already benefited trade enterprises. According to statistics from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the agency issued 142,100 RCEP certificates in the first 11 months of 2022, with a value of $6.254 billion.

The export destinations included nine member countries where RCEP agreements have entered into force, which were expected to reduce tariffs on $9 million worth of Chinese products in November, according to the CCPIT.

The first day of 2023 marked the first anniversary of the signing of the RCEP. Over the past year, against the backdrop of changes in the international situation and the continued global economic downturn, the RCEP has fully unleashed its dividends, effectively deepened economic links among Asian economies, boosted confidence in regional trade and investment, and further strengthened the resilience of industrial and supply chains within the region.

As a result, China witnessed soaring trade with other RCEP members in the past 11 months. Trade between China and other RCEP members hit 11.8 trillion yuan ($1.69 trillion) from January to November in 2022, a year-on-year increase of 7.9 percent and accounting for 30.7 percent of China’s total foreign trade, data from MOFCOM showed on December 29.

China’s exports to other RCEP members reached 6 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 17.7 percent, faster than the overall growth rate of exports by 5.8 percentage points.

MOFCOM will continue to work with relevant departments to promote the high-quality implementation of the RCEP and other free trade agreements, said Shu Jueting, a spokesperson for MOFCOM.

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