China pushes rival pact to TPP

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Prospective RCEP member nations. (Click to enlarge)
Prospective RCEP member nations. (Click to enlarge)

China and 15 other Asia-Pacific nations will kick off the first round of free trade talks in May to create one of the world’s largest trading blocs, officials said on April 25 at the 22nd ASEAN Summit held in Brunei-.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, is meant as a rival pact to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade initiative pushed by US president Barack Obama involving a dozen countries but excluding China. Both pacts underline competition between the US and China for influence in Asia.

At the end of the ASEAN summit, leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations said in a statement that negotiations on the comprehensive partnership will commence in Mai in Brunei “with a view to completing them by 2015.”

The partnership covers Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam plus that grouping’s six key trading partners — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

Under the pact’s guidelines, special and differential treatment is allowed for poorer nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. At the same time, flexibility clauses also allow members to drop trade policies with which they disagree and exclude sensitive industries from competition.

While such flexibility makes it more attractive for developing nations to join the grouping, critics said it could also be a roadblock to greater integration and a handicap for countries unwilling to reform.

Seven of the partnership members — Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Japan — are also involved in TPP talks. Chile, Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States are the other members in the TPP, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about a third of world trade.

 

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Prospective RCEP member nations. (Click to enlarge)

China and 15 other Asia-Pacific nations will kick off the first round of free trade talks in May to create one of the world’s largest trading blocs, officials said on April 25 at the 22nd ASEAN Summit held in Brunei-.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Prospective RCEP member nations. (Click to enlarge)
Prospective RCEP member nations. (Click to enlarge)

China and 15 other Asia-Pacific nations will kick off the first round of free trade talks in May to create one of the world’s largest trading blocs, officials said on April 25 at the 22nd ASEAN Summit held in Brunei-.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, is meant as a rival pact to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free trade initiative pushed by US president Barack Obama involving a dozen countries but excluding China. Both pacts underline competition between the US and China for influence in Asia.

At the end of the ASEAN summit, leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations said in a statement that negotiations on the comprehensive partnership will commence in Mai in Brunei “with a view to completing them by 2015.”

The partnership covers Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam plus that grouping’s six key trading partners — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

Under the pact’s guidelines, special and differential treatment is allowed for poorer nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. At the same time, flexibility clauses also allow members to drop trade policies with which they disagree and exclude sensitive industries from competition.

While such flexibility makes it more attractive for developing nations to join the grouping, critics said it could also be a roadblock to greater integration and a handicap for countries unwilling to reform.

Seven of the partnership members — Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Japan — are also involved in TPP talks. Chile, Canada, Mexico, Peru and the United States are the other members in the TPP, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of global GDP and about a third of world trade.

 

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