(Yicai Global) Feb. 23 -- Chinese businesses are eager to seize new investment opportunities after the Philippines approved the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, paving the way for the country to join the world’s biggest free trade grouping.
According to a survey released by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade yesterday, about 90 percent of Chinese firms are optimistic about investment opportunities in RCEP member countries. Seventy percent said they would maintain or expand their investment, with 80 percent confident about future prospects.
The Philippines will enter the RCEP trade bloc in 60 days, joining 14 other member countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and the most-recent addition Indonesia. China, one of the original 10 parties to the RCEP, which entered into force on Jan. 1 last year, has mutually implemented the agreement with 13 members.
The Philippines is the last member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to officially ratify the RCEP, Yuan Bo, deputy director of the Chinese commerce ministry’s Institute of Asian Studies, told Yicai Global. China pays much attention to it, he added.
As one of the oldest ASEAN members, the Philippines is very important, Yuan said. The country has solid economic foundations and advantages in manufacturing, services, agriculture, forestry, and fisheries, he noted.
The RCEP is the free trade area with the largest population and economic size and most diverse membership in the world, said Gao Yuning, vice president of the Institute for Service Economy and Digital Governance, Tsinghua University. Its members agree that no tariffs should be imposed on over 90 percent of the products traded among them, Gao noted.
The value of certified products exported by Chinese companies to other RCEP members jumped 62 percent to USD621 million in January from a year earlier, according to statistics from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The number of certificates of origin issued in China surged 137 percent to 16,297 in the period.
The export destinations include 11 RCEP members, such as Japan, South Korea, and Thailand, cutting tariffs for Chinese products by USD9 million last month, CCPIT data showed.
China’s imports and exports with RCEP member states accounted for nearly a third of its entire foreign trade last year, jumping 7.5 percent to CNY12.95 trillion (USD1.88 trillion) from 2021, the year before the RCEP was implemented, according to customs data.
Editors: Shi Yi, Futura Costaglione