RCEP brings new opportunities for China-Myanmar cooperation
China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and ten ASEAN countries formally signed the RCEP agreement on November 15, 2020. This marked the official start of the free trade area with the biggest population, the largest economic size and the largest development potential in the world.
After the RCEP agreement comes into effect, more than 90% of the goods trade in the region will finally realize zero tariff, and taxes will be reduced to zero immediately or within 10 years. Specialists from China and Myanmar shared with us their views on RCEP.
As a modern, comprehensive, high-level and multi-laterally beneficial agreement, RCEP will help the 15 countries to mitigate the impact of Covid outbreaks and trade protectionism, said Lei Zhuning, associate researcher at the Myanmar Institute of Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences.
Lei added that RCEP will boost economic growth, regional investment, and trade in goods and services. China and Myanmar should seize business opportunities brought by RCEP and deepen bilateral cooperation.
“As a legal worker, I’ve engaged in cross-border business investment and dispute resolution for year, and I’m sure the RCEP effect will create more opportunities between China and Myanmar,” said Chen Shuyuan, managing partner of the Dexin Law Firm based in Myanmar.
Yunnan province has forged closest ties between China and Myanmar, serving as the major driver of China-Myanmar economic cooperation with its open systems and sound facilities.
Under the RCEP framework, Chen added, Yunnan will give full play to its favorable location and release its business potential.
RCEP, signed by 15 member countries, is the largest trade cooperation agreement in the world, accounting for nearly one-third of the world economy, according to Khin Maung Seo, a Myanmar specialist in international relations.
Representing arrival of the “Asian century", the RCEP agreement has raised heated international debates. The Asian Development Bank said in 2021, 3 billion people in Asia can enjoy the same level of living standard as those in Europe.
By the middle of the 21st century, that is, around 2050, Asian economy is expected to exceed half of the world's total.
On November 15, 2020, the economic ministers of member countries, including Myanmar, participated in the fourth RCEP summit via video, and formally signed the agreement, said Myanmar reporter Ba Oo.
According to a World Bank report, Myanmar's economy would decline by about 18% in fiscal year 2021 (October 2020-September 2021) because it faced multiple difficulties. The RCEP effect will be conducive to Myanmar economic recovery.
“In recent years, Myanmar fruit exports to China have amounted to 150 million USD in the border areas,” said U Myo Nyunt, vice president of Myanmar Avocado Planting Association. Now more Myanmar watermelons, cantaloupes, bananas and mangoes are finding their way to China.
Nyunt added the RCEP will allow members to carry out more economic cooperation in the region, and the fruit trade between Myanmar and China will usher in new opportunities.
Source: Mingalar Magazine; Trans-editing by Wang Shixue