RCEP deepens economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN

On May 27, a cargo ship loaded with Malaysian manganese ore arrived at Beibu Gulf Port in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The ore was sent to the smelter of South Manganese Group Ltd., which has the longest manganese industrial chain in the world. There it was processed into electrolytic manganese dioxide before being sold domestically and exported to Japan as raw material in new energy batteries.

This particular case of cross-border trade, industry and sales illustrates the power of the recently instituted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement to bring economic benefits to China and its regional partners.

RCEP has helped reduce manganese ore tariffs in Malaysia from 3% to 2.4%, making the industrial chain linking China, ASEAN and Japan more competitive in the international market and promoting development of the regional economy.

The RCEP agreement, the largest free trade agreement in the world to date, entered into force on the first day of 2022. Since then, it has brought tangible dividends to economic and trade cooperation between China and countries. of ASEAN.

Customs data shows that in the first quarter, China’s imports and exports to ASEAN reached 1.35 trillion yuan ($202.2 billion), an increase of 8.4 percent year on year, representing 14.4% of China’s total foreign trade.

During the period, trade between China and ASEAN accounted for 47.2 percent – nearly half – of China’s foreign trade with RCEP partners, according to the data. With the RCEP agreement, ASEAN has once again overtaken the EU to become China’s largest trading partner.

Since its inception, RCEP has brought great benefits to businesses based on reduced import costs and increased export opportunities after tariff reductions. According to the agreement, more than 90% of goods traded in the region will eventually become duty-free, which will significantly boost cross-border trade.

Li Jianjun, general manager of the marketing department of South Manganese Group Ltd., said the application of RCEP has brought tangible benefits to the company and its partner company in Malaysia. From January to April 2022, the amount of manganese ore imported from Malaysia by the company increased by 18% year-on-year, while cost reduction improved the international competitiveness of its products.

RCEP urges relevant countries in the region to participate in the formation and expansion of industries on a larger scale. According to Li.

“We supply raw materials to a well-known battery company in Japan, and we are also the raw material supplier to many domestic new energy vehicle battery manufacturers. Many countries are increasingly committed to cooperation in this industry to seek win-win development,” Li said.

The deep link between trade and industry has directly driven the substantial growth in cross-border freight volume in the region.

According to statistics from China State Railway Group Co., Ltd., a total of 310,000 TEUs were sent by combined rail-sea container trains through the new international land-sea trade corridor from January to May this year, a year later. annual increase of 37.7%. During the same period, 140 China-Vietnam freight trains were operated, with 4,176 TEUs shipped, up 20.7 percent and 26.5 percent, respectively.

Do Nam Trung, Consul General of Vietnam in Nanning, capital of Guangxi, said that participating in RCEP will have a very positive influence in each member country, and RCEP will also provide new opportunities for Vietnam’s development and bring positive factors. more positive in Vietnam. economy.

Since the entry into force of RCEP, the development of cross-border e-commerce between China and ASEAN countries has been further strengthened, with an increase in the volume of imports and exports.

Guangxi is an important hub for cross-border e-commerce import and export business from China to ASEAN, attracting more than 100 cross-border e-commerce enterprises, including China’s first cross-border innovation center. Southeast Asia’s flagship e-commerce platform, Lazada and Shopee’s ASEAN cross-border e-commerce logistics hub.

Diao Weihong, deputy director of the Commerce Department of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said Guangxi has formed important cross-border e-commerce logistics routes to ASEAN and opened 10 cross-border e-commerce air routes to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, while accelerating the construction of an express freight circle facing ASEAN. At the same time, maritime transport networks and cross-border road and rail logistics routes connecting ASEAN are increasingly strengthened.

Benjamas Tanvetyanont, consul general of Thailand in Nanning, said cross-border e-commerce will help promote economic and trade relations between Thailand and China, introduce good things from one country to another and help both people to increase their income.

Under RCEP, many favorable policies, such as tariff reductions and the principle of cumulation of origin, have been implemented, which have gradually highlighted the comparative advantage of export growth between the China and ASEAN.

Data from the General Administration of Customs shows that in the first five months of 2022, the total trade value between China and ASEAN reached 2.37 trillion yuan, up 8.1 percent. China and ASEAN continue to be each other’s major trading partners.
Source: China Economic Network

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