Many Member States have already concluded free trade agreements, but there are restrictions. Bernd Lange, chairman of the European Parliament`s trade committee, said in a tweet that the RCEP agreement needed to be “improved” because of the lack of labour and environmental legislation. Despite the size of the rcep agreement, it has been criticised for lack of ambition because it does not contain chapters on sustainability or workers` rights – an area that the EU sees as an increasingly important dimension of trade policy. “Countries such as Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand accept that the inclusion of chapters [trade and sustainable development] is an essential condition for a free trade agreement with the EU,” said Isabelle Van Damme, trade lawyer at Van Bael-Bellis. “But there are also limits to whether EU trading partners are ready to accept EU standards on social and environmental protection.” The agreement will make it easier for countries like Japan to “diversify their global supply chains with Asia,” said Max Zenglein, chief economist at the Mercator Institute for China Studies, as it harmonizes rules of origin between partner countries. “Ratification is likely to be difficult in national parliaments, both because of anti-commercial and anti-Chinese sentiment,” he added. The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) is a preferential regional trade agreement, formerly known as the Bangkok Agreement. The AptA aims to promote the economic development of its members by adopting mutually beneficial trade liberalization measures that contribute to regional trade expansion and economic cooperation. Over time, it has focused, from the first negotiations on tariff concessions in trade in goods, to the current negotiations on investment liberalization, trade in services and trade facilitation. It is also constantly working to improve and modernize its rules of origin for the trade in goods. This document describes the origin of the APEC RCEP, referred to by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which summarizes the content of the agreement and inevitably contains an initial rough estimate of its impact on trade and overall income and its structural consequences. He concludes by reflecting on the potential long-term effects of the RCEP on East Asian regionalism, world trade and investment, as well as on the European Union. Chinese President Xi opens up to other trade and import agreements While China already has a number of bilateral trade agreements, this is the first time it has signed a regional multilateral trade pact.
The AptA recognises the specific needs of LDCs and calls for concrete preference measures in its favour (Article 3).