The 2020 agreement is expected to boost the global economy by $186 billion.   DOLLAR: I think it`s really a great insight, Peter. The world is more than the United States and China. Other major economies are involved. You have an agency. You have views. You`ve changed my thinking a little bit. What you see is that China has had to adapt to a fairly large number of countries that are part of this agreement, and probably in the same way that the United States would have to adapt if it wants to be part of major agreements. It is not China and it is not the United States that will set the rules. It will be negotiated at the end.
That`s right, and apparently I wasn`t one of the people who could pull it out at once. But my question to you, Peter, is, how has this new RCEP partnership been different from the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Many of the same countries are involved, so what`s the difference? Many trade experts and commentators have questioned whether the introduction of the RCEP and CPTPP would lead to trade rules and rules in the Asia-Pacific region and how they will interact with other free trade and investment agreements already in place. The RCEP agreement is proof that ASEAN has managed to place itself at the centre of its region, even as the major powers tend to lose their weight. ASEAN has also developed an „Indo-Pacific space perspective“ which, in a context of growing security and political tensions, underlines the need to keep the area open, stable, inclusive and subject to rules. It is clear that the Indo-Pacific area will be the most dynamic region in the world and the centre of growth for decades to come. The region`s success in managing the COVID 19 pandemic, certainly in relation to Europe and the United States, has further reinforced this trend. Thank you, Peter. I would like to pursue this value chain issue, as most of the world`s value chains are deeply rooted in Asia, with China at the centre of the concerns. The Trump administration has talked about getting value chains to withdraw China, perhaps to return to the United States. Can you therefore say a little more about the impact of the RCEP agreement on value chains and on this objective of the current US administration? The signing took place practically during a RCEP summit that coincided over time with the meetings of several other heads of state and government and ministers of the Asia-Pacific economies.
Among the 15 countries involved are the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and five of their partners in the free trade agreement – Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea. It was interesting, I visited Nanjing University in China. They have a beautiful new ASEAN study centre, where ASEAN students come and professors specialize in ASEAN research. They told us that they would be the northern head of this railway that leads to Singapore. So it was a BIS project that was underway. There is a very natural synergy between regional economic integration through trade agreements such as those we discussed, RCEP and CPTPP and connectivity.