Media release, 15 November 2020
Business leaders from the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF) have welcomed the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement.
NZIBF Chair Malcolm Bailey said: “We are pleased that the RCEP has come to fruition after seven years of effort. The RCEP will further strengthen New Zealand’s trade and economic relationships in the Asia Pacific region and assist our economic recovery from COVID19.”
“Obviously we would have preferred the deal to have delivered a much sought-after FTA with India and we hope that India will join the RCEP in the not too distant future. RCEP is still an important new agreement, covering nearly a third of the world’s population and many of New Zealand’s key export markets and sending a useful signal about the importance of trade liberalisation”.
Mr Bailey said RCEP’s strategic importance exceeded the modest market access gains, but it was good news that New Zealand achieved some new market access into Indonesia on a range of products such as sheep meat, beef, fish products, liquid milk, cheese, honey, avocados, tomatoes and persimmons. In addition, improved customs procedures will facilitate New Zealand exports of perishable products across the RCEP region and other commitments including in services and investment will add to the rule book for trade and investment with Asian countries.
“We thank successive New Zealand Governments for their efforts in RCEP over the last seven years and congratulate Prime Minister Ardern, Trade Minister O’Connor and their officials for bringing the final deal home” concluded Mr Bailey.
The RCEP negotiations were launched in late 2012 comprising 16 countries including the members of ASEAN (Brunei-Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam), Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand. The final deal was signed by 15 countries, without India. A fast-track accession process has been established should India wish to join RCEP in future.