The 2020 agreement is expected to boost the global economy by $186 billion.   A third option in the United States is to highlight a strengthened commitment to soft power associated with narrow but firm security obligations. This approach would build on the strengths of the United States and take time to take more ambitious initiatives. It highlights the high level of participation in regional forums, exchanges between people, fundamental support for rules-based trade and a clearly articulated military presence. It would benefit from US-Chinese support agreements, not easy performance in the current context. Related Content China Trade in Digital Services and China`s Data Governance: How Should the U.S. React? Joshua P. Meltzer October 2020 Play Audio Global Trade Global competition for digital commerce Joshua P. Meltzer and David Dollar Monday, October 12, 2020 China The new center of gravity of global energy trade Samantha Gross Monday, September 14, 2020 Sunday, China and 14 other countries signed the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) at the ASEAN Virtual Summit, which formalizes the largest free trade agreement (FTA) in history. RCEP members make up nearly one-third of the world`s population and account for nearly 30% of the world`s gross domestic product. The new free trade bloc will be larger than the agreement between the United States and Mexico and Canada and the European Union.  In 2007, the total GDP of potential RCEP members exceeded that of members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
It has been suggested that sustained economic growth, particularly in China and Indonesia, could reach more than $100 trillion by 2050, about double the size of projects in the TPP economies.  On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that removed the United States from the TPP, a measure designed to improve the RCEP`s chances of success.  A product made in Indonesia, such as Australian parts, could face tariffs elsewhere in the Asean Free Trade Area. Like most free trade agreements, RCEP aims to reduce tariffs, open trade in goods and services and encourage investment. It also deals briefly with intellectual property, but does not mention environmental protection and workers` rights. Its signatories include very advanced economies such as Singapore and relatively poor economies such as Cambodians. The official ASEAN website (asean.org/?static_post=rcep-regional-comprehensive-economic-partnership) is very clear in this regard and notes that the agreement covers areas such as online consumer protection, online personal data protection, transparency, paperless trade and the acceptance of electronic signatures. It also includes obligations on cross-border data flows.
This provides a more business-friendly digital trading environment and better access to RCEP markets. In the region, the pact is monumental not only because it accumulates 15 very different Asian economies and creates a common working base, but it also provides the opportunity to bring together existing bilateral and trilateral trade agreements in a coherent way – for example, by combining some of the benefits of the RCEP, the CPTPP and the New Supply Chain Pact New Zealand-Australia-Japan-India.