Tuesday, November 5, 2019

To sign or not to sign - RCEP and trade recipies...

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, intending to cover half the world's population and negotiations which started in 2013, is all over the newspapers.

India has decided not to sign off on it.

This post is not to comment on the RCEP negotiations - I was curious to know the front page headlines in some of the major RCEP members. So here goes:

Japan - The Japan Times reported that the RCEP members have given up signing off on the deal this year.

China - The China Daily was on a more positive note quoting statements that indicated hope that the deal would be concluded soon. The present outcome was regarded as major progress.

New Zealand - The NZHerald focussed on New Zealand's interests and stated that though there was no RCEP sign off, most of the leaders were old acquaintances of the NZ premier.

Singapore - The Strait Times was more direct - it was India that rejected the RCEP deal while 15 others were ready to sign off next year.

Australia - The Canberra Times reported that though RCEP was not through New Zealand did manage to upgrade its bilateral deal with China.

The Guardian had an interesting quote from the Trade Minister from Australia:
“Australia goes into this trying to achieve the most ambitious agreement possible but realistic that we have, across the 16 countries, huge development differences, huge population differences, huge differences in the system of government and cultures of those countries. Bridging those divides is probably the biggest challenge that’s ever been faced in terms of a trade agreement being signed and sealed around the world.”
Trade negotiations and their complexities! But this is the first time a trade deal in Asia has got so much front page coverage. They were usually destined to the 8th or 9th page!