In the press release at the end of the summit of countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), held in Bangkok, leaders of the 16 countries negotiators indicate that 15 of them “have concluded negotiations for the 20 chapters and essentially all the issues on access to markets”.

“There will be no problem for the 15 participants in the treaty signed the next year”, declared the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, chinese, Le Yucheng. India will be “welcome” in the future, if you decide to join this association, formed by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the ten countries of ASEAN (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei).

If all goes as the chinese vice-minister promises to India and the addition to the covenant, the future RCEP will cover 47% of the world’s population, or to 3,400 million people, and 32.2% of world GDP, up 20.6 billion euros. Also take 32.5% of the global investment and the 29 per cent of the trade of the planet.

To Beijing, the success of the negotiations represents a boost to economic and political. As a promoter of the initiative, and strengthens its influence in Asia and the role that seeks to champion global multilateralism. The agreement will also serve to prop up its economy at a time when its growth slows and it faces with the united States in a war of trenches business and technology.

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The negotiations for this alliance had been achieved initially little progress since the initial proposal in Cambodia seven years ago. But received a new impetus after that, immediately after arriving at the White House, Donald Trump ordered out of the united States of the Agreement trans-Pacific Economic partnership (TPP), an ambitious free trade agreement for both sides of the Pacific that the Obama Administration conceived of as the economic pillar to prop up the influence of Washington in the region. The withdrawal of the US was the quasi-death, for all practical purposes, that project, despite 11 of its members have ratified it.

In contrast, the proposed china received an injection of vitality. “There is No doubt that you will take a turn towards the RCEP if the TPP is not moving forward,” he said in his day, the japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, one of the main proponents of the agreement trans-pacific.

The slowdown widespread among the asian economies in the wake of the trade war between the US and China ended to provide the necessary incentive for the negotiations to come to fruition.

The RCEP and the TPP are very different. Where the TPP is focused on the reduction of non-tariff barriers (protection of the environment, standards for foreign investment), the RCEP, the emphasis is mainly on tariffs, no protections for the labour rights provided for in the treaty that originally led US.

The alliance, which will require the ratification by the respective national parliaments, will eliminate tariffs on more than 90% of goods exchanged between members. The agreement also includes protections on the intellectual property and chapters on investment and trade in goods and services. It also provides mechanisms for the resolution of disputes between the countries.

Among other problems, the negotiations have faced the reluctance of India, an economy with a deficit in its trade balance, unlike the rest of the member countries, all with surplus. New Delhi fears that a vast area of free trade to flood the market of chinese products and its manufacturing industry is adversely affected. He also sees with suspicion the possibility that the agricultural goods from Australia or New Zealand could damage this sector of its economy.

“Our decision has been guided by the impact this agreement would have on our citizens,” said Vijay Thakur Singh, the indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a press conference, as cited by AFP.

The strength of India is not the only problem to solve in this agreement gigantic, which brings together economies as disparate as the avanzadísima japanese, the “socialist with chinese characteristics” in Beijing or the communist system in Laos, one of the poorest countries in the world. It remains to be seen if the current deterioration in relations between Japan and South Korea will have some impact in the implementation of this large commercial area. And Australia and New Zealand have also expressed their interest in strengthening labor rights or environmental protections, as does the TPP.

lack of interest in EE UU

M. V. L.

In what has been interpreted in a new gesture of disinterest towards the region -the nth-, united States only sent to the Bangkok summit a delegation of low-profile, headed by the Commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross. In complete contrast -very descriptive of the balance of current influences in the continent-, China sent its prime minister, Li Keqiang.

The assistant to the president Trump to issues of National Security, Robert O’brien, who represented Washington at the meeting with the ASEAN, accused China of “imperialist” and “intimidating” to other Southeast Asian countries in the waters disputed in the South China sea to the appropriation of natural resources, reports EFE.

Precisely, Beijing and the ASEAN countries pledged during the summit to close a code of conduct to avoid an escalation of tensions in those waters.

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