With the demise of the U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, attention in the Asia-Pacific region has turned to Kobe for the next round of negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The five-day Kobe meeting marks the first time RCEP negotiators have met since Donald Trump became U.S. president and pulled America out of the TPP.
It comes as RCEP supporters grow more hopeful that the TPP’s failure is an opportunity to make RCEP the fundamental Asia-Pacific trade agreement for the 21st century, even as divisions over issues ranging from tariff reductions and migrant rights to buying locally and intellectual property protection has leaders cautioning that a deal by the end of this year won’t be easy.
In addition, RCEP’s opponents warn it could further widen the economic gap between wealthier and less-developed members and even lead to a regional health crisis by strengthening rules for pharmaceutical companies that restrict the ability of people to access cheaper generic drugs.
RCEP has been, to date, an Association of Southeast Asian Nations-led process. Members include the 10 ASEAN nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, The Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as six other Asia-Pacific nations — Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, China and India.
Launched in 2012, the first round of negotiations took place in 2013, just as the TPP talks were moving forward. Seven RCEP members (Australia, Brunei, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam) were also involved with the TPP.
China’s new three-child policy highlights risks of aging across emerging Asia
Thailand’s (Baa1 stable) total dependency ratio is set to jump nine percentage points to 51% by 2030 – a faster increase than China’s – which will pressure public and private savings through higher taxes and social spending, reducing innovation and productivity gains.
Population aging in China (A1 stable) and other emerging markets in Asia will hurt economic growth, competitiveness and fiscal revenue, unless productivity gains accelerate, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service.(more…)
Clear skies over Asia’s new foreign investment landscape?
Compounding the fallout of the US–China trade war, the global pandemic and recession have caused considerable speculation on the future of foreign investment and global value chains (GVCs). But though there is likely to be some permanent change, it will probably not be as great as politicians expect.(more…)
Can border reopening revive tourism in South-East Asia?
In Thailand, where pre-pandemic tourism accounted for 11-12% of GDP, the country lost an estimated $50bn last year as Covid-19...
Thailand dropped from UK’s tough covid-19 travel ‘red list’
Earlier, Thailand was listed among countries with high infection levels that were put on a ‘red list’, requiring arrivals to...
The ASEAN-Russia Trade and Investment Cooperation Work Program
ASEAN and Russia recently agreed to enhance and widen economic cooperation at the 10th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM)-Russia Consultations held...
Flexible Workspace Startup Worklounge Debuts with 20+ Luxury Member Lounges in Thailand
Worklounge launches a premium membership granting remote professionals and executives access to exclusive hotel lounges across Thailand. Their platform is...
5 insights to guide ASEAN’s digital generation in a post-pandemic world
We surveyed 86,000 people from six ASEAN countries about their views for a post-pandemic world. The ASEAN Digital Generation Report...