Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - RCEP countries should explore solutions for economic growth

RCEP countries should explore solutions for economic growth

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Leaders of RCEP countries pose for a group photo during the 3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit in Bangkok in November 4 last year on the sidelines of the 35th ASEAN Summit. India withdrew from the RCEP in November last year. afp

RCEP countries should explore solutions for economic growth

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a coalition of 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region with the intention to achieve trade liberty via proposed free trade agreements.

Initiated by the 10 ASEAN member states with their five dialogue partners – China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand and Australia – the RCEP accounted for nearly one-third of the world’s population and around 30 per cent of the global GDP. India withdrew from the RCEP in November last year. Even without India, the participating countries have decided to sign the trade pact, which is expected to come into effect in 2021.

Obviously, the RCEP is an ideal circle of trade partners which would accelerate mutual trade growth and economic recovery, especially after global recession as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since its outbreak, both South Korea and Japan have encountered a drop in GDP and economic downturn, while ASEAN member states are looking for solutions to boost their markets and exports. Cross-border trade and cooperation are encouraged. The market within the RCEP circle is huge. The sizable population of Indonesia, China and Japan can create high demand in the consumer market. The RCEP circle can secure a steady demand and market for agricultural and perishable products in ASEAN, China and Australia. The logistic and economic activities will then resume gradually.

Again, we expect that the pandemic will last for a foreseeable period. The economy shall be restored simultaneously with the healthcare system. Lifestyle should resume to normal. Jobs must be secured. We consider China as one of the core engines in RCEP. In fact, China has demonstrated to the world that its supply chain is worthwhile and value-added. China’s supply chain hence creates values and opportunities to its Southeast Asian neighbours.

The Asia-Pacific region needs stability and growth. RCEP may set rules by implementing free trade agreements. Fair game and fair players would contribute to the importance of the RCEP loop. Ideally, the RCEP may welcome India’s re-entry and other new members’ admission. Another brilliant suggestion would be a potential fusion and integration between the RCEP and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The collaboration would definitely lead to synergy.

The RCEP is an extension of ASEAN Plus Three. The maritime road connects trade from Australia to Southeast and Northeast Asia. Now, it is not an era for conflicts or confrontation. Fair and free trade guarantees a country’s economic growth. Let’s put aside all other irrelevant political agenda and just focus on the wellbeing of the people.

Chu Kar-kin is a PhD candidate and a veteran current affairs commentator based in Hong Kong.


  • PM imposes nationwide Covid restrictions, curfew over Delta scare

    Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28 instructed the municipal and provincial authorities nationwide to strictly enforce Covid-19 measures including curfew for two weeks from July 29 midnight through August 12 to stem the new coronavirus Delta variant. The instruction came shortly after he issued a directive

  • Two luxury hotels latest quarantine options for inbound travellers

    The Inter-Ministerial Committee to Combat Covid-19 has designated two luxury hotels as alternative quarantine options for travellers who wish to enter Cambodia through Phnom Penh International Airport – Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence and the Courtyard by Marriott Phnom Penh. In a notice detailing guidelines issued

  • Provinces on Thai borders put in lockdown amid Delta fears

    The government has decided to place several border provinces in lockdown for two weeks in a bid to prevent the new coronavirus Delta variant spreading further into community. According a directive signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen late on July 28, the provinces include Koh Kong,

  • Visa A holders get to quarantine at Himawari Hotel

    The Ministry of Health has permitted foreign diplomats, UN and International NGO officials to undergo quarantine at Himawari Hotel in the capital in case they do not have a separate place suitable for this purpose, but the government would not be responsible for the expenses.

  • Jabs for kids bring hope for school reopenings

    Cambodia is tentatively planning to reopen schools – at least at the secondary level – when the vaccination of children aged 12-17 is completed, even though daily transmissions and deaths in other age groups remain high. Schools across the country have been suspended since March 20, one month

  • China denies Mekong hacking

    As the US and its allies joined hands last week to expose what they allege to be China’s Ministry of State Security’s malicious cyber activities around the world, the attention also turned to Cambodia with the US Department of Justice claiming that four