Stephen Jacobi, NZIBF Executive Director, speaks to the Confederation of Indian Industry Partnership Summit in New Delhi about The Future of Multilateralism.
Two and a half cheers for RCEP !
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.
Remarks to Confederation of Indian Industry Partnership Summit, New Delhi, 15 March 2023
"The Future of Multilateralism" by Stephen Jacobi, NZIBF Executive Director Namaskar Tēnā koutou katoa – greetings to you all in the language of the Māori people of Aotearoa New Zealand. It is an honour for me to speak to such a distinguished gathering today....
AMIDST THE STORM: ABAC MEETS IN AUCKLAND
Perhaps a cyclone was after all a fitting backdrop for the meeting of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) which was held in Auckland on 12-14 February – the global environment against which the meeting took place is decidedly stormy. In the event the wind...
Asia-Pacific business leaders call for action on climate and economic inclusion
APEC NEWS RELEASE Issued by The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Auckland, 14 February 2023 - Members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) met in Auckland, New Zealand this week to develop a work plan that calls on policymakers to leverage trade and...
ASIA-PACIFIC BUSINESS LEADERS GATHERING IN AUCKLAND, 12-14 FEBRUARY 2023
Media Release - 8 February 2023 Equity, sustainability and opportunity are key themes of one of the largest gatherings of senior Asia-Pacific business leaders held in New Zealand for some time. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is due to meet in Tāmaki...
A YEAR FOR RECONNECTING
As I write this end of year dispatch, NZIBF is preparing to host the first meeting for 2023 of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). We are looking forward to welcoming the 200 or so business leaders and senior officials from APEC member economies across the...
MAJOR GATHERING OF ASIA-PACIFIC BUSINESS LEADERS TO BE HELD IN AUCKLAND, 12-14 FEBRUARY 2023
Media Release - 14 December 2022 Sustainability, digitalisation and resilient, inclusive trade will be key themes of a major gathering of senior Asia-Pacific business leaders to be held in Auckland early next year – the first such event to be held in New Zealand...
NZ Herald: Time to lift our game in India
Following his recent visit to India our Executive Director Stephen Jacobi penned this article advocating a more strategic approach to the further development of the relationship. The article was published by the NZ Herald on 9 December.
APEC Rolls out Priorities for 2023
Issued by the Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting - Honolulu, The United States, 13 December 2022 Aiming to provide tailwinds for member economies to strengthen recovery and resilience, as well as advance broad-based economic growth, the United States rolled out its...
NZIBF 2022 Chair Report
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 2022 CHAIR’S REPORT I am pleased to present my second report on the activities and achievements of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) for 2022-23, our fifteenth year of operations. At the outset I would like to thank Members for...
APEC Leaders Issue 2022 Declaration and the Bangkok Goals on the Bio-Circular-Green Economy
Issued by the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting Bangkok, Thailand, 19 November 2022 The Leaders of the 21 APEC member economies issued the 2022 Leaders’ Declaration following the 29th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting chaired by the Prime Minister of Thailand,...
NZ BUSINESS LEADERS AT APEC 2022
New Zealand business will be represented at the APEC Leaders’ Week in Bangkok, commencing 13 November, by members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). New Zealand’s three members – Rachel Taulelei, Malcolm Johns and Anna Curzon – supported by Stephen Jacobi...
Submission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Re-Development of the Framework for Integrating Labour Standards and Trade Agreements
Submission by NZIBF – October 2022 This submission is made on behalf of the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF), whose members are listed at Annex A. NZIBF is a forum of senior business leaders working together to promote New Zealand’s engagement in the global...
Address to the 51st One Stop Update for The Accountant In Business, 25 October 2022
ADDRESS TO THE 51st ONE STOP UPDATE FOR THE ACCOUNTANT IN BUSINESS AUCKLAND, 25 OCTOBER 2022 STEPHEN JACOBI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NZ INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS FORUM GLOBAL ECONOMIC UPDATE Thanks to Brightstar for inviting me back to address this conference once again. When...
Submission to MPI on Modernising Our Export Assurances Systems: Legislative Options
Submission by Export NZ and NZIBF - 29 September 2022 1.0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Export New Zealand (ExportNZ) and the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) welcome the opportunity to comment on the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Modernising Our Export...
Submission to MFAT for CPTPP Review
30 September 2022 Phil Mellor Economic Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington (By email) Dear Phil, Thank you for your email of 1 September, seeking our comments on the three year review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans...