Signatory countries will also collaborate on a number of issues, including helping small and medium-sized enterprises to overcome barriers to the use of e-commerce, promoting the development of practices that build consumer confidence, and targeted cooperation in the areas of research, training, capacity-building and technical assistance. To address this issue, Australia will provide AU$46 million for technical assistance and capacity building to help eligible ASEAN countries implement their RCEP commitments. Fifteen countries have formed the world`s largest trading bloc and cover nearly a third of the global economy. Over the next decade, RCEP and CPTPP will boost intra-Asian trade, influence the direction of global value chains, and determine the future evolution of the economic architecture of the Asia-Pacific region. In the case of RCEP, the economic benefits are certainly more modest and can take years to materialize, but the symbolic message inherent in RCEP is the largest trade agreement in the world. Some RCEP members, including Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, have only one tariff plan applicable to all other members. In other words, exports to these countries of each RCEP member benefit from the same tariff, with a few exceptions. On the other hand, other countries have some variations in their calendars. For example, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Korea have a timetable for ASEAN and separate timetables for dialogue partners. Meanwhile, Japan has only one customs plan, but there are discrepancies in the timing indicated in the „Remarks“ column. Although not ideal, this kind of flexibility in the planning of tariff commitments was a common feature in previous ASEAN+1 free trade agreements.
Nevertheless, traders need to find the corresponding tariff line and see which tariff can apply to which countries. After eight years of negotiations, the economy ministers of 15 Asia-Pacific countries signed the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 15 November 2020 at a virtual signing ceremony held on the sidelines of the 37th ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam. RCEP consolidates and builds on existing ASEAN+1 Free Trade Agreements (ASAs)1 with five regional trading partners („dialogue partners“) and aims to establish a uniform, harmonized and predictable set of regional trade rules that encourage companies to locate their supply chains in the Asia-Pacific region covered. In a joint statement, the countries` heads of state and government said the trade deal would be a decisive part of their recovery plans from the pandemic that has forced countries around the world to block their economies. . . .