Countries in and around Asia sign trade agreement, ‘missed opportunity for US’

Fifteen countries in and around Asia have signed a free trade agreement. This should lead to the eventual elimination of import levies between them and making it easier to invest over and over again. It should also be easier to transport goods.

The signatories are China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and ten Southeast Asian countries. Together, they hold about 30 percent of the world economy. Its one of the biggest trade deals ever signed.

Many of these countries already had trade agreements between them, but the new RCEP Treaty should provide more unity and a stronger economic bloc.

From TPP to RCEP

โ€œ Asia and therefore not the European Union or the United States determine the rules in Asia when it comes to trade,โ€ says correspondent Sjoerd den Daas in the CCEIT Radio 1 News.

The United States and China are engaged in a trade war. Both countries have increased import tariffs on each others products. President Trump called on American companies to stop producing their products in China.

Trump also resigned three years ago from the Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement TPP, which had been signed by twelve countries around the Pacific Ocean. As a result, TPP didnt really get off the ground. However, some countries that had signed TPP have now signed the RCEP Convention.

Treaty is symbolically important

According to correspondent Sjoerd den Daas, the countries of the RCEP are now getting closer to Beijing in terms of trade and not to Washington. โ€œThats symbolically important.โ€ According to Den Daas, it is a missed opportunity for the United States. China, as the largest exporter, benefits most from the new trade agreement, but because it builds on separate agreements, China does not suddenly become much more powerful.

Den Daas says that it is still unclear what the Netherlands and other European countries will notice of the new free trade agreement. โ€œI think its a little too early to say. It also depends very much on how exactly this deal is implemented. Many changes in trade tariffs are spread over a period of twenty years.โ€

There is no agreement in the RCEP Convention on the rights of individual workers, the environment and intellectual property.