16 Country Free Trade Agreement
The RCEP will also accelerate the economic integration of Innordostasia. A Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said last year that negotiations on the trilateral free trade agreement between China and South Korea and Japan, which have been stalled for many years, will begin “as soon as they are able to conclude the RCEP negotiations.” As I said, in a high-level speech in early November, President Xi Jinping promised to “accelerate negotiations on an investment agreement between China and the EU and a free trade agreement between China and Japan and the United States.” There was also talk of India ultimately not signing the agreement, and not without reason. Several sectors were largely opposed to the agreement. The RCEP proposes that 92% of Indian products be duty-free over the next 15 years. Most countries wanted India to reduce existing tariffs to 90% of goods. Although China already has a number of bilateral trade agreements, this is the first time it has signed a regional multilateral trade pact. A report by NITI Aayog showed that India imports more than it exports to countries with which it has free trade agreements and that exporters do not use regional trade agreements. The note also showed that after the adoption of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement in 2010, trade in goods between countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Singapore – with China went from a surplus of $53 billion to a deficit of $54 billion in 2016. Steel: The steel industry is also concerned about China if it is included in the RCEP – that excessive imports could harm the domestic market.
The Confederation of All India Traders also said: “It (RCEP) will hurt India`s export competitiveness, as the country`s trade balance is already more distorted. That is why we believe that India should not enter into a rcep agreement on steel and other related products. “The economic benefits of the agreement may be marginal for Southeast Asia, but there are some interesting trade and customs dynamics for Southeast Asia,” said Nick Marro of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). “RCEP is the most advanced free trade agreement initiated by Asean. It will strengthen Asean`s role in the region and strengthen its cooperation with its partners,” Jurin said. The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the ten Asean member states and six dialogue partners: China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand. The agreement will enter into force when six Asean countries and three dialogue partners ratify the agreement. In 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation described the first draft of RCEP`s intellectual property provisions as “simply the worst copyright provisions ever seen in a trade agreement.”  Some analysts have argued that the RCEP could disadvantage some U.S. and multinational companies outside the zone, particularly after President Donald Trump withdrew from talks on a separate Asia-Pacific trade agreement, formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).