China Readying for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
China's Ministry of Commerce has announced that it will continue plans for the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of the year, as scheduled.
The RCEP was initiated by ASEAN in 2012. It is a free trade agreement between the 10 member states of the association and six partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
Currently, the nations are reviewing legal texts for the agreement. The 29th RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee meeting scheduled for March 23-27 in Jakarta will instead be conducted as a video conference. RCEP is anticipated to enter into force either in 2021 or January 2022.
China is also continuing with negotiations on the China-Japan-South Korea free trade area and the China-Gulf Cooperation Council free trade zone as well as free trade agreements with Israel, Norway and Sri Lanka. China is also negotiating upgrades to its trade deals with South Korea and Peru, said Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng,, and is accelerating the building of a global free trade zone network.
Meanwhile, South Korea has urged its trading partners to consider the quarantine action it is taking and continue trade despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Trade minister Yoo Myung-hee said the nation is enacting a strict and transparent quarantine system. So far, over 150 countries have imposed quarantine restrictions on South Koreans.
"To overcome the economic crisis sparked by COVID-19, every country should bolster their quarantine efforts, but at the same time maintain the economic activities," Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee said.
According to the World Health Organization's report of March 21, China has over 81,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 3,250 deaths. South Korea has over 8,700 cases and over 100 deaths. Globally, there are now over 265,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths.