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RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee held the second meeting and reached a four-point consensus

Post Time:2022-05-13 15:58:51

On March 3, the Second Meeting of the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee was held onsite and online. Xu Ningning, Chairman of the RCEP Industrial Cooperation Committee, said in his speech that it has been two months since the RCEP came into effect, attracting worldwide attention. Many substantial and new changes have taken place in the world and the region in the past two months, making the significance of RCEP construction stand out. In particular, RCEP member states need to work together to seize the new opportunities brought by RCEP and jointly address the challenges.

The leaders of more than 80 national industry associations from RCEP countries and the commercial counselors of embassies in China attended the meeting, actively expressed their desire to enhance cooperation, and reached a four-point consensus:

First, RCEP members should work together to cope with unstable world economy. The ongoing spread of COVID-19 and complexity and changes of the international environment have made the world economy even more uncertain. To deal with such uncertainty, after the RCEP started to take effect, business communities of RCEP members should make a full use of advantages brought by RCEP which aims to open the markets to promote accurately complementary, innovative and practical cooperation, thus embracing new trade and investment development and recover regional economy. 

Second, a good political environment is needed for commercial communications between RCEP members. The development of trade and commercial cooperation are connected with deepening friendships between all members. We proposed that all parties should fully aware that enhanced mutual trust and friendship are especially needed if RCEP members want to get tangible economic benefit from this agreement. Meanwhile, business communities should act to develop political and people-to-people relations, creating favorable conditions for stable and long-term economic developments.

Third, we should build a mechanism for coordinating cooperation between RCEP members. Based on established cooperative mechanisms, we should build a mechanism for coordinating cooperation which meets the need of industrial and commercial cooperation between RCEP members. With this new mechanism, we will collect more resources of information and commerce to help enterprises to find the directions of trade and commercial cooperation and achieve major cooperative projects. RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee suggested that RCEP Economic Cooperation Zone, also the Communication Center of RCEP Trade, Commercial and Cultural Communication set in Jiangmen, Guangdong Province should be developed and build as soon as possible to make the Cooperation Zone a demonstration zone of RCEP industrial cooperation, and Communication center a bridge for enhancing trade and commercial cooperation.

Fourth, Chinese representatives suggested that industrial associations of China should fully implement the Guidance on Fully Implementing RCEP published by 6 ministries including China's Ministry of Commerce. Training courses on RECP should be organized to help enterprises leverage RCEP agreements. Based on different situations of industries, Action Plan on Coordinating RCEP should be drafted to guide enterprise to seizing opportunities brought by RCEP. International industry cooperation should be improved and cooperation with commercial associations of other  14 countries should be enhanced, thus bringing true developments for enterprises from RCEP members especially small and medium enterprises.

At the meeting, Ms. Wantana Tatan, Minister Counsellor (Investment Promotion) of the Royal Thai Embassy in China, said in her speech that the The RCEP agreement, which came into force on January 1st has created trade and investment opportunities for Thailand. Especially in the export sector, where Thailand has 29,891 goods that should enjoy zero tariffs immediately after the pact's implementation. In addition, the RCEP market is an opportunity to export many Thai products such as fresh and processed fruits, fishery products, rubber and rubber products, plastics, chemicals, computers and components, etc. Relevant agencies have measures to encourage Thai entrepreneurs to take the most advantage from the RCEP agreement, which are; to create understanding of trade rules for entrepreneurs, help them to plan a business strategy, guide for product development t o meet RCEP market demands and the Ministry of Finance has issued measures to support entrepreneurs to access funding sources. the government has streamlined investment-related laws and pushed forward investment in many areas with the aim of upgrading the capacity of the country’s infrastructure and the skills of its human resources. RCEP agreement will be one of the important tools to help recover the economy of member countries in post-COVID era. We hope to build trade and investment links between RCEP members states and build a strong value chain in the region.

Mr. Glenn Penaranda, Commercial Counselor of Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in China, said in his speech that although the Philippines is ratifying the RCEP agreement domestically, the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines is confident that the Philippine Senate will ratify the RCEP agreement  when it resumes this year. Many business organizations and industry associations in the Philippines have expressed support for the mega-trade agreement. The Philippine economic growth rate stood at 5.6% in 2021. This is one of the highest GDP growth rates in ASEAN and East Asia. The Philippine economic growth rate target for 2022 is 6-7%, and I am optimistic that it will be achieved. It is expected that under the RCEP framework, enterprises in the region will deepen cooperation in the process of expanding markets and building resilient and sustainable supply chains. The Philippine Department of Trade and Industry looks forward to greater development of the Philippine-China economic and trade cooperation with the continuous support and promotion of the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee.

Mr.Ryusuke Takashima, Director of Japan External Trade Organization in Beijing said that JETRO is a Japanese government agency that promotes trade and investment. JETRO's latest survey report shows that 39.8% of Japanese companies in China have awareness of leveraging FTAs be tween China and other countries, and 34.2% have  not yet used them. Currently, JETRO is working hard to popularize RCEP, so that more Japanese companies can enjoy the business opportunities brought by the RCEP agreement. The survey report also shows that in 2021, 72.2% of Japanese companies in China generates profits, which is a record high. According to the Diffusion Index, which measures business confidence, profits are expected to increase further in 2022. Therefore, more and more Japanese companies choose to expand their business in China. He believes that Japanese companies in China should make more effective use of the RCEP, flexibly adjust the purchasers of raw materials and the sellers of products, and make them the top priority of corporate strategic management. JETRO will continue to cooperate with the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee to help Japanese companies expand their business in China.

Qin Zhanxue, President of China Building Materials Circulation Association,said that China, as a major producer and exporter of building materials and home furnishing, provides consumers in the Asia-Pacific market with a wealth of building materials and home furnishing products. RCEP will help to build a new supply chain and value chain for building materials and home furnishing enterprises in the region, and extend the division of labor in the building materials and home furnishing industry. The China Building Materials Circulation Association will further take the advantage of the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee to actively carry out cooperation, and will formulate an action plan for the industry to coordination with RCEP.

Li Yuzhong, Vice Chairman of the China National Light Industry Council, said that China's light industry exports to RCEP countries accounted for nearly a quarter of the China's light industry exports, and its imports accounted for more than one-third. In 2021, China's light industrial goods exports to RCEP countries increased by 26.53%, and imports from other RCEP countries grew by 32.07%. After RCEP came into effect, many ASEAN member states added tax reduction items. For example, Indonesia added cosmetics, plastic products, luggage, etc. to the tax reduction catalog; Brunei added carpets, shoes, fans, air conditioners and other household appliances and furniture to zero tariffs. Catalogue; tariffs on canned pineapple, pineapple juice and coconut juice exported from ASEAN to my country have also been adjusted. Therefore, the entry into force of the RCEP is bolstering intra- regional trade. Light industry enterprises should make good use of the tax reduction dividends of RCEP member countries, optimize raw materials and sales networks, implement new production capacity layouts and chain-strengthening projects based on the advantages of resources and labor in each country. The implementation of RCEP agreement is beneficial to promote the development of SMEs. RCEP has both a special chapter on SMEs and a special chapter on economic and technical cooperation, as well as an e-commerce chapter that encourages paperless trade. These provide new development opportunities for many small and medium-sized enterprises in the light industry. Small and medium-sized enterprises should actively participate in into the regional industrial chain and supply chain.

Wang Zhanjie, President of China Plastics Processing Industry Association, said that we must actively integrate into RCEP, the world's largest free trade zone, and take practical actions to maintain the multilateral trading system and stabilize the regional industrial chain and supply chain. The plastic industries of China and ASEAN are highly complementary. The products China imports from ASEAN are mainly chemical products of primary raw materials (such as plastics in primary shapes), while the imports of ASEAN countries from China are mainly plastic products. When RCEP came into effect, the tariffs on plastics and their products from China and ASEAN countries were directly reduced to zero, accounting for more than 90%. According to the import volume of China's plastics, rubber and their products in 2021, the import volume of products whose tariffs will be reduced to zero under the RCEP agreement in 2022 will be about 700,000 tons, and the import value will be $2 US billion; according to the export volume, the tariffs under the RCEP agreement will be reduced to zero in 2022. The export volume of products is about 560,000 tons, and the export value is $2 billion US dollars. The RCEP’s entry into force will further promote Chinese plastics processing enterprises to accelerate industrial upgrading, actively develop high-end products, improve their ability through technological innovation, and enhance market competitiveness. He suggested that the first is to further improve laws and regulations, formulate relevant policies, improve the level of investment liberalization and facilitation, and strengthen intellectual property protection; the second is to strengthen the scientific and technological innovation, promote the optimization and upgrading of the industry, and increase the resilience of the industrial chain; the third is to enhance understanding of the RCEP rules and flexibly use of the cumulative rules of origin; the fourth is to cement the formulation and coordination of international standards and relevant national standards, strengthen industry exchanges and cooperation, and promote cooperation in standards coordination and mutual recognition of conformity assessment results.

Li Zhimin, Vice President and Secretary General of China International Freight Forwarders Association and Vice President of the Asia Pacific Region of the Federation of International Freight Forwarders Associations, said that China International Freight Forwarders Association is a national industry organization for China International Freight Forwarders and a national member of the international freight organization FIATA. It has a lot of cooperation with the ASEAN Federation of International Freight Associations, and hopes to take this meeting as an opportunity to further strengthen cooperation with RCEP’s national industry organizations to jointly promote connectivity.

Mr. Alvin Chua Seng Wah,President of Federation of Malaysia Freight Forwarders, said that as a logistics service provider , RCEP countries are expected to strengthen the  coordination of national technologies and standards, reduce non-tariff barriers, and enhance trade facilitation measures.

Mr. Neak Oknha Pung Kheav Se, President of Association of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia said that Cambodia is the rotating chair of ASEAN in 2022. Prime Minister Hun Sen said recently that Cambodia will guide to accomplish ASEAN's most important tasks in accordance with the core spirit of ASEAN's basic principles, especially to accelerate the process of building a fair, strong and inclusive ASEAN community. As the largest overseas Chinese association in Cambodia, the Association of Khmer Chinese in Cambodia is willing to enhance cooperation with RCEP business associations including the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee, and play an active role in seizing the new opportunities brought by the RCEP and the Cambodia-China FAT.

Tan Sri Dato’s Soh Thian Lai, President of Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said that the RCEP agreement will come into force for Malaysia on March 18 this year. Compared with other ASEAN countries, Malaysia is expected to be the biggest beneficiary of the RCEP agreement in terms of export growth; it is expected to bring more companies from China, Japan and South Korea to invest in Malaysia. The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers has held eight webinars on RCEP to help companies find new business opportunities brought about by the FTA, and plans to continue a series of conferences nationwide this year. RCEP countries should use RCEP to stabilize regional manufacturing activities and rebuild supply chain connections. The RCEP Industrial Cooperation Committee is one of the main channels for us to enhance cooperation. The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers will build this channel together with the business community of RCEP countries to jointly promote the revitalization of the regional economy.

Adhi Lukman, President of Indonesia Food and Beverage Association, said that RCEP constitutes a huge unified market and is a very influential regional cooperation in the world. It is very important to strengthen such cooperation in the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The convening of this meeting is of positive significance for strengthening industrial cooperation among RCEP member countries and promoting new development of regional trade and investment. The RCEP member states should take the initiative to cooperate so that enterprises can benefit from the cooperation.

Nguyen Quoc Hiep, President of Vietnam Association of Contractors Construction, said that Vietnam's economic growth target for 2022 is 6.5-7%. To achieve this goal, Vietnam is working in various fields, among which construction and real estate development are one of the pioneers (about 9% of GDP). At present, in addition to the domestically produced building materials in the Vietnamese market, Vietnam has also opened the door to import building materials and goods from many countries in the world, including China. Vietnam also attaches great importance to attracting foreign direct investment, which is why many industrial parks in Vietnam are currently developing strongly at a record rate. The Vietnam Association of Contractors Construction is willing to cooperate with enterprises from RCEP countries, including China, to jointly seize the promising construction and real estate development opportunities in Vietnam.

In total, there are more than 40 chambers of commerce and industry of RCEP member states who attended the meeting, including Cho Ha Kong, Former

Minister of Transport of Malaysia; Park Min-young, chief representative of the Korea International Trade Association in Beijing; Phairush Burapachaisri, Vice Chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Board of Trade Of Thailand; Ju Dongying, Chairman of the Japan-China Science, Technology and Culture Center; IAI Tun, President of Myanmar Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Malcolm Lim Tiong Han, President of National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Brunei Darussalam; Musa bin Haji Adnin, Vice President of Brunei Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Haris Chandra, Vice Chairman of Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry China Committee, among others.

The main Chinese representatives who attended the meeting were from China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association, China Communications and Transportation Association, China Machinery Industry Federation, China Electricity Council, China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation, China Packaging Federation, and China Building Materials Federation. China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles, China Association of Trade in Services, China Household Appliances Association, China Building Materials Machinery Industry Association, China Heavy Machinery Industry Association, China Electrical Appliance Industry Association, China Bicycle Association, China Leather Association, China Building Energy Conservation Association, China Stone Material Association, China Aggregates Association, China Nonferrous Metals Industry Association, China Pharmaceutical Business Association, China Aquatic Products Circulation and Processing Association, and All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce Petroleum Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Liu Xin, Secretary General of RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee, presided over the meeting. At the meeting, Lv Kejian, executive member of the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee and former director of the  Department of Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, briefed the work of the RCEP Industry Cooperation Committee.

Representatives from RCEP countries expressed their belief that as long as we strengthen our willingness to cooperate and take active cooperative actions, we will overcome various challenges that restrict economic development, achieve new regional economic development and make regional contributions to world economic growth.

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