Thai businesspeople expect RCEP to bring increased benefits

(Xinhua) 15:39, December 31, 2021

NANNING, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Thai businesspeople expect the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement to bring increased benefits as it will come into force Saturday.

"I hope that more ingredients and commodities from Southeast Asia will enter China at more affordable prices to further enrich the tastebuds of food lovers," said Metinee Nuntadee, who is from Thailand and runs a restaurant in Nanning, the capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Over the years, she has insisted on cooking authentic Thai food using fresh ingredients from Thailand. The restauranteur said her idea could not become a reality without the growing economic, trade, and logistics cooperation between China and Thailand.

The RCEP covers 15 states including 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The total population, gross domestic product, and trade of the RCEP member countries account for about 30 percent of the world's total, respectively.

After the RCEP agreement takes effect, more than 90 percent of merchandise trade between approved members will eventually be subject to zero tariffs, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Nuntadee said that the growing number of Thai restaurants in Chinese cities indicates that more and more Chinese people are falling in love with Thai food.

She expects the agreement will make cross-border logistics more efficient and diversify food exports to China.

Thanks to the construction and upgrading of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (FTA), a large number of delicious fruits from Southeast Asia have reached Chinese tables in recent years.

Somchai, general manager of a Thai fruit export company in China, has been in the business for almost five years.

He said the company's efforts to ensure product quality and its constant efforts to upgrade production plans and structures according to market needs have helped accelerate its development.

"We are very optimistic about the imported fruit market in China, and expect the RCEP will continue to expand the variety of fruits we export and promote the development of cross-border trade," Somchai said.

With deepened connectivity, cross-border e-commerce between China and ASEAN member states is developing rapidly, providing new impetus for regional economic development.

After the RCEP takes effect, comprehensive and high-level plurilateral e-commerce rules will take shape in the Asia-Pacific region, creating a more convenient and orderly development environment, providing a sound institutional guarantee, and promoting the use of and cooperation in e-commerce among members.

Namfon Lapjulpon from Thailand is among a large number of entrepreneurs who expect to grasp the growing opportunities in e-commerce.

She and her husband produce short videos and carry out livestreaming on Thai food in Guangxi to promote both Chinese and Thai products. "We will be able to purchase high-quality goods across the region, and it will be more convenient for consumers to buy a wider variety of foreign goods at a more affordable price without going abroad," she said.

The implementation of the RCEP will usher in a new stage of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, driving regional economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, said Virasac Somphong, consul general of Laos in Nanning. 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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