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RCEP marks a turning point in post-pandemic economic recovery, says Thai scholar

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RCEP marks a turning point in post-pandemic economic recovery, says Thai scholar

(Xinhua) 15:20, January 01, 2023

A worker arranges durians at a durian processing factory in Chanthaburi province, Thailand, May 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

The Thai scholar believed the RCEP has delivered tangible benefits to its members and beyond. Taking Thailand as an example, she said: “Thailand has benefited from the RCEP’s freer and wider markets as the RCEP members are Thailand’s major trade partners.”

BANGKOK, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would be a major turning point in the post-pandemic economic recovery, where cooperation is the desired answer to the all-encompassing crises, said a Thai scholar.

As the world’s largest free trade pact, the RCEP’s entry into force in January 2022 has helped its member countries restore economic vitality and accelerated the region’s economic recovery, Aksornsri Phanishsarn, associate professor at Thammasat University’s Faculty of Economics, said in a written interview with Xinhua.

The trade pact has brought its members into a new chapter of closer and mutually-beneficial economic cooperation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing them to reap the benefits of deeper economic, trade and investment cooperation as well as closer regional connectivity.

The RCEP groups the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand, covering nearly a third of the world’s population and gross domestic product (GDP).

Aerial photo taken on Jan. 24, 2022 shows the Laem Chabang Port in Chonburi Province, Thailand. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

Aksornsri believed the RCEP has delivered tangible benefits to its members and beyond. Taking Thailand as an example, she said: “Thailand has benefited from the RCEP’s freer and wider markets as the RCEP members are the country’s major trade partners.”

Foreign trade has been one of Thailand’s main growth engines. According to the data from Thailand’s ministry of commerce, the country’s trade with RCEP member countries, which accounted for around 60 percent of its total in the first nine months of the year, climbed 10.1 percent year on year to 252.73 billion U.S. dollars.

Aksornsri said an increase in export volume due to trading with the pact members was a positive sign for Thailand’s economic recovery, while the pact provided entrepreneurs with more sourcing channels for imports.

Besides the facilitation of trade and the elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers, the more flexible rules of origins were one of the pact’s prominent features, she said.

“As an agricultural exporter, Thailand has also benefited from fast-track customs clearance under the RCEP,” she said, adding that it was especially favorable for trade of perishable products.

A worker is seen at a spare parts warehouse of the Thai-Chinese Rayong Industrial Zone, in Rayong province, Thailand, on Dec. 29, 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)

Although the RCEP is a regional trade pact, it has a global significance considering the combined economic weight of its members, she said, adding that the pact has played a positive role in promoting global trade and investment cooperation as well as supporting multilateralism.

Aksornsri also considered the trade pact as win-win cooperation, not a zero-sum game between RCEP and non-RCEP members.

“Considering the characteristics, population and GDP generated by the member countries, the implementation of the RCEP agreement creates a positive spillover effect in support of multilateralism, not only for current members but also for prospective members,” she said.

Looking forward, as the RCEP is an open trade pact, it encourages and will attract the joining of more members, she added.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Hongyu)
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