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An Evaluation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement: Market Access and Trading Rules

Bin Sheng and Chenxin Jin

China & World Economy, 2022, vol. 30, issue 5, 49-74

Abstract: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement was signed on November 15, 2020. This marks the formal conclusion of the world's largest free trade agreement in terms of population and economic scale. The RCEP agreement covers new liberalization commitments in goods, services, investment, and movement of natural persons, and addresses some emerging behind‐the‐border trade issues, to forge more transparent, open, and inclusive trade rules. Its aim is to build a comprehensive, modern, inclusive, and high‐quality free trade agreement. This paper summarizes the framework and highlights of the RCEP agreement, measures the extent of tariff reduction from various perspectives, makes a quantitative assessment of the level of service trade liberalization of the member states adopting positive list commitments, and makes an in‐depth analysis of trade rules and provisions in the RCEP agreement. Furthermore, this paper also makes a comprehensive comparison of main provisions among the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans‐Pacific Partnership, RCEP, and US‐Mexico‐Canada Agreement. The paper concludes with policy recommendations for China to promote the implementation of the RCEP agreement.

Date: 2022
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