Experts and Business Leaders Concur RCEP Brings New Economic Opportunities and Greater Collaboration in Asia Pacific

BEIJING, Jan. 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Following the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 1 January 2022, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB) hosted the event, “RCEP: Looking Beyond Ratification,” in partnership with Asia House on 13 January, bringing together experts from Asia Pacific to discuss the impact of the agreement on economic development and geopolitics, and how businesses can benefit from the world’s largest trading bloc. Over 700 participants registered worldwide for this webinar.

CKGSB’s Founding Dean and Professor of China Business and Globalization, Dr Xiang Bing, kicked off the event highlighting the importance of RCEP, which represents 29% of the global population, 36% global GDP and 34% of global trade. He said, “RCEP represents Asia’s collaborative approach to promoting free trade and globalization…RCEP economies, despite having different levels of development and resource endowment, have strong economic and trade complementarity, and deeper economic and trade cooperation among them means better utilization of resources and higher levels of efficiency in production.”

Two panels – moderated by Jeremy Browne, UK’s former Minister of State for Asia Pacific – featured experts’ views on RCEP’s broader implications and benefits for businesses. Panellists included Anna Robeniol, Advisor to the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Economic Community, and Tetsuya Watanabe, Vice-President, Research Institute of Economy Trade, and Industry, who were lead negotiators for the RCEP agreement.

Experts welcomed the new trade agreement saying it will benefit the region, and potentially contribute to post-pandemic economic recovery. Speakers agreed it will strengthen supply chains, which will increase market opportunities and jobs, and lead to a more closely-integrated economy. However, they noted that larger nations may face challenges as production moves to smaller countries. Tao Zhigang, Professor of Strategy and Economics and Associate Dean at CKGSB, said, “The key is to ensure you have re-distribution programs helping those who suffer from the process of globalization, such as re-training, economic assistance and common prosperity.”

The event ended with a fireside chat with Gita Wirjawan, Indonesia’s former Trade Minister, who said, “We have seen the death of multilateralism in the last decade…The fact that the number of RCEP countries have decided to move ahead and show to the world that this is a good piece of multilateral understanding; I think it is equity, it’s equity for humanity’s ability to re-multilateralize.”

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