“Today, we are taking an important step we have never taken with China toward a future of fair and reciprocal trade with China,” Trump said at a White House ceremony. “Together, we are correcting the injustices of the past.” The agreement, the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (R.C.E.P., is limited in scope. Yet it has considerable symbolic weight. The pact covers more humanity – 2.2 billion people – than any previous regional free trade agreement, and could help consolidate China`s image as the dominant economic power in its neighborhood. The RCEP agreement is flexible enough to meet the needs of different countries as diverse as Australia, Myanmar, Singapore and Vietnam. In a joint statement, the countries` heads of state and government said the trade agreement would be a decisive part of their post-pandemic recovery plans that forced countries around the world to block their economies. In a joint statement, RCEP leaders said the signing of the agreement “shows our strong commitment to supporting the economic recovery” following the pandemic recession, with job creation and “open, inclusive, rules-based trade and investment.” We also believe that together, the RCEP and the CPTPP will offset the global losses resulting from the trade war between the United States and China, but not for China and the United States. The new agreements will make the economies of North and Southeast Asia more efficient and combine their strengths in technology, production, agriculture and natural resources. The RCEP, often imprecisely described as “china-led,” is a triumph of ASEAN`s diplomacy of middle power.

The value of a major East Asian trade agreement has long been recognized, but neither China nor Japan, the region`s largest economies, have been politically acceptable as architects for the project. The impasse was resolved in 2012 by an ASEAN-brokered agreement, which included India, Australia and New Zealand as members and tasked ASEAN with negotiating the agreement. Without such an “ASEAN centrality,” the RCEP would never have been created. The RCEP will connect about 30% of the world`s population and production and make significant profits in the right political context. According to recent computer simulations, RCEP could add $209 billion a year to global revenues and $500 billion to world trade by 2030. It is also a U.S. withdrawal from large-scale trade agreements that redefine global relations. Nearly four years ago, President Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (P.T.), a broader agreement than the R.C.E.P.