Following the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Thailand set up its RCEP Center to facilitate trade and economic expansion. As the world’s biggest free trade deal to date, the RCEP groups the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, covering a market of 2.2 billion people with a combined GDP of USD 262 billion.
At the opening ceremony of the RCEP center, Thailand’s Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit said RCEP member countries are accelerating the ratification procedures of the agreement, which will generate significant development opportunities for Thailand. The RCEP is designed to eliminate as much as 90% of the tariffs on goods traded between its 15 signatories over the next 20 years.
Starting from January 1 next year, Thailand will be able to export the majority of its products (90-92% of tariff lines) to the other 14 member countries without tariff constraints as the member countries will gradually reduce tariff rates to 0%. These products include those currently subject to tariff rates as high as 40%. In this respect, the tariff rate of 64.1 – 100% of the total tariff lines of the member countries (excluding least developed countries) will immediately be eliminated upon the coming into force of the RCEP agreement.
To facilitate increasing trade and investment flows, Thailand’s newly-established RCEP Center will provide assistance and expertise in international trade to help Thai businesses export and gain benefits from the treaty.
(Sources: Xinhua; Bangkok Post; Thailand Business News)