Cambodia: RCEP, BRI contribute to global economic recovery: academics

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are contributors to regional and global economic recovery efforts, academics said here on Tuesday.

Entering into force earlier this year, the RCEP comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries including 10 ASEAN member states and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Speaking at the 17th annual international conference on “New World Order: Competition, Integration and Multipolarity”, senior economist Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the RCEP has provided larger market access for all participating countries with preferential tariffs.

He said the RCEP has promoted greater regional cooperation in trade and investment, and eased cross-border movements.

“This regional trade deal keeps markets open, strengthens regional economic integration, supports an open, free, fair, inclusive trading system, and ultimately, contributes to global recovery efforts,” he said.

“It has helped create new business and employment opportunities, strengthen supply chains in the region, and promote the participation of micro, small and medium enterprises in the regional value chains and production hubs,” Sereyvath added.

According to the World Bank, the RCEP covers 2.3 billion people or 30 percent of the world’s population, contributes 25.8 trillion U.S. dollars, about 30 percent of global GDP, and accounts for 12.7 trillion dollars, over a quarter of global trade in goods and services.

Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said the world’s biggest trading bloc has provided mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation for all participating countries.

“The RCEP has not only promoted greater regional economic integration, but also underscored the unwavering commitment of all member countries to free trade and multilateralism,” he said.

“It is unlike the U.S.-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which is a group to undermine regional economic development and to create conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region,” he added.

During the conference, analysts also touched on the importance of the BRI.

Matthews said the BRI has played a crucial role in helping countries cushion the economic fallout.

“The BRI will become the new engine of global economic growth,” he said. “It will continue to boost regional and global cooperation in terms of hard and soft infrastructures, economy, trade, investment opportunities, cultural exchange, and people-to-people connectivity.” Xinhua