Of APEC, CPTPP and IPEF

Remove

Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of NZIBF, traveled to San Francisco for APEC Leaders’ week and writes his thoughts on the outcome.

read more

Two and a half cheers for RCEP !

by | Aug 5, 2019 | Trade Working Blog

Remove

Image: NZ Embassy in Beijing gets a Ministerial visitor this week

Ministers – including Hon Damien O’Connor from New Zealand – meet in Beijing this week to try to crunch a little known but very big trade deal.

Is it still possible to conclude big new trade agreements? 

The EU has recently concluded a new agreement with the South American members of MERCOSUR. And in Asia negotiators have been working over six years and 27rounds of negotiations to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).  If Ministers are successful in Beijing, RCEP may soon be coming to a TV screen near you.

The biggest trade deal you never heard of

Contrary to popular misconception, RCEP is not a Chinese initiative but an ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) one. The parties to RCEP are the ten-member ASEAN, plus Australia, China, Japan, India, New Zealand and South Korea.  This group makes up 39% of global GDP and covers nearly half the world’s population, so this is a very big deal indeed and much larger than CPTPP.

New Zealand already has FTAs with all the members of RCEP, bar one:  the fact that RCEP includes India is a major opportunity for us.

Why negotiate new FTAs when we already have them?

There are really two answers for this – first to expand the quality of the agreement by including new commitments and disciplines and second to expand the coverage by including new partners.  RCEP is an opportunity to bring a number of our other trade agreements together and to get India on board.

Good things take time

When launched six years ago, RCEP was styled as “modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership”.  Unfortunately negotiators have struggled to live up to that ambition.

Some economies including India are reluctant to cut tariffs especially in what they consider to be “sensitive” industries like agriculture.  Rule-making has also proved difficult in areas like services, rules of origin, investment and intellectual property rights.  Non-tariff barriers will likely be a continuing problem.

End in sight?

Ministers have earlier committed to concluding the negotiation by the end of this year.

That would be a considerable achievement but if it weredone at the expense of the substance of the agreement that could prove difficult for New Zealand in other negotiations underway including with the European Union.

There seems little likelihood of opening up the Indian market without RCEP, so we have a lot riding on a successful outcome.  So it’s two and a half cheers for now, and let’s hope we can soon make it three.

This post was prepared by Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of the International Business Forum. Associate Director Fiona Cooper has participated actively in the negotiating process over recent years. Watch Fiona explain RCEP here.

REGISTER WITH TRADE WORKS

Register to stay up to date with latest news, as well as saving and discussing articles you’re interested in.

 

Remove

 

Latest News

Of APEC, CPTPP and IPEF

While New Zealand was sorting out its new Government, the alphabet soup which is trade got a good stirring in San Francisco.  This was APEC Leaders’ week, the annual gathering of Leaders, Ministers, business people and other stakeholders from the 21 economies of...

EYES OPENED DURING INDIA VISIT

Published by Newsroom on 6 September 2023 Stephen Jacobi reports on the recent business delegation to India. Every country has its contrasts and a subcontinent of 1.4 billion with thousands of years of history has more than most.  Today’s India can reach the...

Large business delegation bound for India

MEDIA RELEASE - Tuesday 22 August, 2023 Fifty business representatives will leave later this week bound for Delhi, making it one of the largest delegations ever to head for India. The delegation, comprising members and senior leaders of five business organisations,...

India and New Zealand: The next innings

As published in the NZ Herald, 18 August 2023 By Stephen Jacobi As a trade mission prepares to depart for Delhi, Stephen Jacobi of the New Zealand International Business Forum considers the prospects for growing two-way trade and investment between India and New...

CRUNCH TIME FOR CPTPP

As published in the NZ Herald, 18 August 2023. By Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director, NZ International Business Forum. Following the Ministers’ meeting in Auckland, what is the outlook for CPTPP as the world’s most ambitious free trade agreement? When Ministers...

CER CELEBRATES A RUBY ANNIVERSARY

The Australia-New Zealand Leadership, the semi-annual gathering of Ministers and business leaders, has been described as a “successful symbol of trans-Tasman togetherness[1]”.  And the togetherness vibe was certainly present when the Forum gathered in Wellington...