On June 6, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) officially entered into force for the Philippines, marking the full entry into force of RCEP for the 2 signatories. In response to the concerns of the media and the public, the head of the International Department of the Ministry of Commerce answered reporters' questions.

Q: What is the significance of RCEP for the full entry into force of the 15 signatory countries?

A: On November 2020, 11, the 15 ASEAN countries, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand signed RCEP and promoted the agreement to enter into force on January 10, 2022. On June 1, 1, RCEP officially entered into force for the Philippines, bringing the agreement into full force for the 2023 signatories. The total population, GDP and trade in goods in the RCEP region account for about 6% of the world, and the agreement comes into full force for the 2 parties, marking a new stage of full implementation of the free trade area with the largest population, the largest economic and trade scale and the most development potential in the world.

The full entry into force of RCEP fully reflects the 15 parties' support for an open, free, fair, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system with practical actions, and their joint commitment to continuously promoting comprehensive, mutually beneficial and high-level economic partnership. The commitment of the 15 parties to open up the markets for goods, services and investment, coupled with high-level rules in various fields, will greatly promote the free flow of production factors such as raw materials, products, technologies, talents, capital, information and data in the region, promote the gradual formation of a more prosperous regional integration market, and promote the opening and cooperation of member countries on a larger scale, higher level and deeper level.

The full entry into force of RCEP will provide a strong boost for China to promote high-level opening up. The full entry into force of RCEP has created more favorable conditions for China to expand trade in goods with its members, and will also drive the corresponding opening up of service trade and investment, and promote trade facilitation and the improvement of the business environment. Continuing to promote the high-quality implementation of RCEP will be conducive to further promoting the integrated development of regional industrial chains and supply chains, helping localities, industries and enterprises expand new space for international economic and trade cooperation, and promoting the realization of a higher level of institutional opening up from a higher starting point.

Q: Since RCEP came into effect on January 2022, 1, what positive results has RCEP achieved in promoting regional trade and investment development?

A: With the joint efforts of all parties, the results have initially shown since the implementation of RCEP. Trade in goods between members has become closer, and intraregional trade has become a key force for stabilizing and driving the growth of foreign trade among members. At the same time, benefiting from the positive signals released by the effective implementation of RCEP, the region continues to become a hot spot for global investment, most members use foreign capital to show a positive upward trend, and the overall regional attraction of green space investment has grown strongly.

The implementation of RCEP has played an important role in stabilizing foreign trade and foreign investment in China. From the perspective of trade, in 2022, the total import and export volume of China and other RCEP members will be 12.95 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 7.5%, accounting for 30.8% of China's total foreign trade import and export. From January to April 2023, the total import and export volume of China and other RCEP members was 1.4 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 4.12%, accounting for 7.3% of China's total foreign trade import and export. From the perspective of attracting foreign investment, in 30, China's actual utilization of other RCEP members will invest 9.2022 billion US dollars, a year-on-year increase of 235.3%. From January to April 23, China's actual utilization of other RCEP members invested nearly US$1.2023 billion, a year-on-year increase of more than 1.4%.

RCEP has brought tangible dividends and benefits to the majority of enterprises in China. RCEP superimposed on the bilateral free trade agreements that have entered into force between China and other RCEP members has created good conditions for enterprises to better enjoy benefits and helped enterprises reduce trade costs. In 2022, Chinese enterprises will enjoy preferential export goods worth 2353.15 billion yuan under RCEP, which can enjoy tariff reductions of 8.653 billion yuan from importing countries, and import goods worth 15.5 billion yuan and tax concessions of 2023.622 billion yuan. In the first quarter of 9, Chinese enterprises enjoyed preferential export goods worth 9.3 billion yuan under RCEP, which can enjoy tariff concessions of 182 million yuan from importing countries, and 5.4 billion yuan in preferential import goods and 8 million yuan in tax concessions.

Q: What innovative measures and achievements have been made in the process of actively docking with RCEP?

A: Since the implementation of RCEP, all localities have actively strengthened policy docking, optimized the business environment, strengthened economic and trade cooperation with RCEP members, effectively improved support and service levels for enterprises, and helped enterprises seize the opportunities of the agreement, forming many fruitful pragmatic measures and innovative practical results.

First, actively match the opportunities of the agreement and introduce pragmatic measures according to local conditions. All localities actively implement the "Guiding Opinions on High-quality Implementation of RCEP", many places have introduced and implemented RCEP work plans or action plans in combination with local development conditions, and some places have also incorporated RCEP opportunities into the local "2035th Five-Year Plan" and the outline of long-term goals for <>, launched pragmatic measures, systematically promoted high-quality implementation work, and promoted deeper integration into regional markets.

The second is to focus on improving trade facilitation and smoothing regional economic and trade channels. Many localities have implemented RCEP trade facilitation measures with high standards, and promoted the implementation of 6-hour customs clearance for express and perishable goods; Actively build an online RCEP intelligent application public service platform, and vigorously promote the digital service of the whole process of certificate of origin to help enterprises enjoy benefits efficiently. Relevant localities will develop and increase foreign trade liners, air routes, railway freight trains and stations for RCEP members, continuously improve the comprehensive service level of logistics and supply chain, and enhance the efficiency and capacity of port customs clearance.

The third is to grasp the policy of opening up the agreement to promote the implementation of trade and investment results. All localities and enterprises strive to make use of RCEP origin accumulation rules, preferential policies for service trade and investment market opening, actively optimize the layout of regional trade and investment, and promote the deep integration and development of industrial chain and supply chain. Some localities have combined local resource endowments and industrial characteristics to vigorously develop the production and trade of intermediate goods for RCEP members, and achieved positive results. Some places have superimposed open platforms such as pilot free trade zones with RCEP policies, increased targeted investment attraction in key industries, and promoted the landing of a number of major projects.

The fourth is to take the implementation of RCEP as an opportunity to create a first-class business environment. All localities strictly implement domestic laws, regulations and rules corresponding to the mandatory obligations of RCEP, and relevant localities also focus on implementing RCEP incentive obligations, continuously improving local governance capabilities, attracting industries, capital, talents, etc., and driving the local trade and investment environment to be significantly optimized. Some localities actively use platforms such as local characteristic exhibitions and fairs, economic and trade forums, pay attention to strengthening cooperation with RCEP member industries, promote characteristic advantageous products, and carry out trade and investment project docking.

The fifth is to strengthen publicity and training to enhance the awareness and ability of enterprises to use the agreement. All localities have strengthened RCEP special training and policy publicity through various methods, carried out precise training for different industries, and interpreted preferential policies throughout all types of enterprises. Some places have also sorted out and published the list of advantageous import and export products under RCEP in the region, carried out tariff reduction comparison and trade big data analysis of RCEP members, and publicized and analyzed the key export destinations of local advantageous products to enterprises, helping enterprises better develop the RCEP regional market.

Q: How will the Ministry of Commerce guide and support localities, industries and enterprises to make good use of the policy dividends of the agreement?

A: Taking the full entry into force of RCEP for all signatory countries, we will continue to do a good job in the high-quality implementation of RCEP, guide localities, industries and enterprises to deeply connect with RCEP opportunities, fully enjoy the policy dividends of the agreement, and further play the positive role of the agreement in promoting industrial chain and supply chain cooperation and promoting high-quality development.

First, continue to guide localities, industries and enterprises to implement and make good use of the agreement. Guide local governments to implement the Guiding Opinions on High-quality Implementation of RCEP, grasp the process of gradual opening up of RCEP, and gradually give full play to the economic effects of the agreement. Further strengthen RCEP special training, on the basis of the 13 training sessions held in the previous two years, focus on petrochemical, electromechanical, textile, automotive and other specific industries to carry out RCEP stable chain and solid chain in-depth special training. Encourage local governments and industries to carry out more refined and targeted training to help enterprises fully understand and make good use of the policy dividends of the agreement.

The second is to continuously improve the level of public services and promote the replication and promotion of the implementation experience of the agreement. On the basis of optimizing the functions of the service network of China's free trade area in the early stage, we will continue to provide RCEP policy consultation and Q&A services for enterprises. Encourage and support local governments to adapt measures to local conditions and serve enterprises in various forms, and provide package solutions for the implementation of free trade agreements. Regularly track and evaluate problems in the implementation of the agreement, sort out and summarize the good experience and good practices of various localities in docking with RCEP, optimizing the business environment, and promoting trade and investment cooperation, form classic cases of RCEP utilization that can be replicated, promoted and implemented, and continuously improve the utilization rate and utilization level of the agreement.

The third is to promote the high-level implementation of the Convention by member states and further promote the construction and cooperation of the RCEP mechanism. Together with all members, we will continue to promote the implementation of RCEP tariff reduction commitments, service trade and investment opening commitments, and fully implement rules and obligations such as trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. Promote the regular convening of RCEP ministerial meetings, joint committees and other institutional meetings, supervise and promote the high-quality implementation of the agreement, support the establishment of RCEP secretariat bodies, and strengthen RCEP economic and technological cooperation. Actively promote the coordination and docking of product and service standards and regulations among members, pragmatically promote regional mutual recognition and cooperation in conformity assessment, create better conditions for the high-quality implementation of RCEP, drive local governments and enterprises to fully integrate into the RCEP market, and achieve mutual benefit and common development at a higher level.