The trade agreement allows China – by far the largest economy and the most populous country in the region – to call itself “a champion of globalization and multilateral cooperation,” Gareth Leather, Asia`s chief capital economic economist, said in a report. Read more: APEC Summit: Free Trade in Asia in the Age of Protectionism The ASEAN-India Trade Agreement came into force on 1 January 2010. The signing of the agreement paved the way for the creation of one of the world`s largest free trade area markets and created opportunities for more than 1.9 billion people in ASEAN and India, with a total GDP of $4.8 trillion. AIFTA is setting up a more liberal and easier market access and investment system between Member States. The agreement provides for tariff liberalization of more than 90% of the products traded between the two dynamic regions. As a result, tariffs for more than 4,000 product lines were agreed to be abolished by 2016 at the earliest. Products that are not excluded from the CEPT-AFTA system are products of the highly sensitive list (i.e. rice) and the general list of exceptions. The Coordination Committee for the Implementation of the CEPTScheme for AFTA (CCCA) is currently reviewing all lists of general exceptions to ensure that only lists that comply with Article 9, point b) 1 of the CEPT agreement are listed. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang celebrated the signing of the agreement in a speech at the summit, saying: “The signing of the RCEP is not only a milestone in East Asian regional cooperation, but also a victory for multilateralism and free trade.” Efforts to close the development gap and expand trade among ASEAN members are essential elements of the political debate. According to a 2008 research mandate published by the World Bank as part of its “Trade Costs and Relief” project, ASEAN members have the potential to reap significant benefits from investment in new trade facilitation reforms, as a result of the important customs reform already implemented by the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement. The RCEP establishes a modern, comprehensive, quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership that builds on ASEAN`s existing bilateral agreements with its five partners in the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The RCEP, which accounts for about 30% of the world`s gross domestic product (GDP) and accounts for nearly one-third of the world`s population, is the world`s largest free trade agreement to date. As an important regional agreement, the Singapore RCEP will complement the existing network of free trade agreements, expand our economic space and stimulate trade and investment flows. Under the RCEP, the parts of all Member States would be treated in the same way, which could encourage companies in RCEP countries to look for suppliers in the commercial region. This new analysis proposes to examine two key areas, including port facilities and competitiveness in Internet services. According to the report, reforms in these areas could increase ASEAN trade by 7.5% ($22 billion) and 5.7% ($17 billion). On the other hand, a reduction in tariffs on all ASEAN members on the South-East Asia regional average would increase intra-regional trade by about 2% ($6.3 billion).  The Framework Agreement for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation between ASEAN and China (ACFTA) was signed in November 2002. The ACFTA agreement contained provisions on economic cooperation and areas of cooperation. In November 2015, as part of joint efforts to raise ASEAN-China relations to a higher level, the parties agreed to sign the protocol amending the Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and certain agreements between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People`s Republic of China (the Protocol).