Authorities progress preparations for RCEP
Chinese authorities are pushing forward preparation work for implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs revealed their ongoing efforts to support RCEP implementation on Thursday.
Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said China started the domestic approval process of the RCEP agreement in December and it has been progressing smoothly.
"The preparatory work for the approval and implementation of the agreement will be completed within six months," Gao said.
The ministry is revising the tariff rules and preparing for the implementation of rules of origin, which will ensure fulfilment of China’s duty reduction obligations after the agreement comes into force.
Departments have collated the list of obligations covered by the RCEP agreement to ensure full compliance with its various liberalization measures and rules.
The ministry will also strengthen training on the implementation of the agreement, Gao added.
It plans to hold a nationwide online training course on January 18-19, which will introduce content of the agreement relevant to goods, services, investment, rules, rules of origin and customs facilitation. The aim is to assist local authorities, industrial intermediary organizations and enterprises to become familiar with the rules, and thus expand the space for cooperation and development in the market competition.
Meanwhile, China's General Administration of Customs is studying the formation of the regulations on the origin of imported and exported goods under the RCEP and the regulations on approved exporters, according to Li Kuiwen, customs spokesman and head of its statistics and analysis department.
The customs will reexamine the process of applying for preferential import and export visas under the partnership, and set up a supporting information system to ensure enterprises enjoy the convenience of declaration.
According to Li, China’s imports and exports to the other 14 RCEP member countries totaled 10.2 trillion yuan (US$1.58 trillion) in 2020, up 3.5 percent, and 31.7 percent of the total value of China’s imports and exports over the period.
Of this total, exports topped 4.83 trillion yuan, up by 5 percent, while imports rose 2.2 percent to 5.37 trillion yuan.
The RCEP region is currently the world’s largest free trade zone, covering about 30 percent of the population, 30 percent of the total economic volume and 30 percent of foreign trade.