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Appeal of multilateralism and free trade prevails

China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-24 07:05

Vehicles with RCEP written on the body are seen at a port. [Photo/VCG]

Chile's application to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement demonstrates the appeal of the RCEP as the world's largest free trade framework. It also shows that multilateralism is still widely recognized by countries.

Against the headwinds of unilateralism and protectionism, multilateral trade mechanisms such as the RCEP have played a prominent role in promoting global economic recovery and maintaining economic globalization.

Since the RCEP came into effect in 2022, it has significantly promoted open cooperation in the region and stimulated the vitality of regional economic development. Data indicate that in 2023, intra-regional trade in the RCEP region reached $5.6 trillion, attracting a total of $234.1 billion in greenfield investment.

Over the past two years, industry and supply chain cooperation among the RCEP members has shown strong resilience. Not only have the 13 members of the RCEP benefited significantly from that, but the trade pact has also produced positive spillover and demonstration effects, effectively mitigating the adverse effects of the "fragmentation" of the world economy.

Reportedly, in addition to Chile, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, among other countries, have also expressed their interest in joining the RCEP.

If Chile successfully joins the trade deal, it means that the scope of RCEP cooperation will expand to Latin America, further enriching each member's trade options.

Chile is one of the countries that has signed the most free trade agreements in the world. It has already signed free trade agreements with many of the RCEP members such as China, Australia, and the Republic of Korea. It therefore has a good foundation for joining the RCEP.


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