File photo shows containers at the Qinzhou Port in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Xinhua/Zhang Ailin)
BOAO, Hainan, April 23 (Xinhua) -- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that took effect some 100 days ago has strengthened the trade network between China and other member countries, quickening the pace of regional economic integration.
The landmark RCEP is the world's largest free trade deal to date, featuring beneficial cooperation. It has injected strong impetus into the Asia-Pacific region, becoming a new driving force for the world economy, experts said at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022.
The RCEP deal, covering 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, will eventually subject more than 90 percent of merchandise trade in the region to zero tariffs.
China's trade with the other 14 members states expanded 6.9 percent year on year to 2.86 trillion yuan (about 442.75 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of 2022, accounting for 30.4 percent of the total, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
Zheng Zuguo, manager of a liquid-crystal display manufacturer in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, said the implementation of the RCEP in Malaysia can help the company reduce millions of yuan in tariffs for its products each year.
"Orders from Malaysia have risen about 20 percent year on year so far this year," Zheng said.
Besides the direct "dividends" such as tariff reduction, the RCEP has also optimized trade rules among signatories, streamlined procedures to facilitate cross-border logistics and promote wider opening-up in the services-trade sector.
With rules covering trade, investment and circulation facilitation, the RCEP will bring positive changes to the Asia-Pacific region and the global economy, said Shamshad Akhtar, under secretary general of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, at the forum.
Comprehensive and high-level plurilateral e-commerce rules have also taken shape in the Asia-Pacific region after the RCEP took effect.
Bringing huge institutional and opening-up dividends to the cross-border e-commerce market in Asia, the RCEP can further integrate industrial and value chains in the region, according to a report released by the forum.
China is always proactive in pushing for the high-quality implementation of the RCEP, helping enterprises adapt to a more open and competitive environment.
The country released a guideline in January, outlining measures in areas such as manufacturing upgrades, financial support, business environment and supporting services for enterprises to make better use of opportunities brought by the trade pact.
China has also pledged efforts to allow the RCEP agreement and policies on the Hainan Free Trade Port (FTP), China's largest free trade zone and where the permanent site of the forum locates, to reinforce each other.
The implementation of the RCEP is a boon for economic cooperation between China and the ASEAN countries, and the FTP should be built into a "headquarters" for enterprises in both the regions to tap into each other's markets, said Chi Fulin, head of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development. ■