„The economic benefits of the agreement may be marginal for Southeast Asia, but there are some interesting trade and customs dynamics that need attention to pay attention to in Northeast Asia,“ said Nick Marro of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). ASEAN leaders said they still intend to expand trade with India and that the door remains open for New Delhi to join the Bloc. Although these ASEAN national customs and trade authorities coordinate with each other, disputes may arise. The ASEAN Secretariat has no legal authority to settle these disputes, so disputes are settled bilaterally through informal means or through dispute settlement. Many Member States already have free trade agreements between them, but there are restrictions. The pact reduces tariffs, opens up the services sector and establishes common trade rules within the bloc. The agreement covers trade, services, investment, e-commerce, telecommunications and copyright. In a joint statement, RCEP leaders said the signing of the agreement showed „our strong commitment to supporting the economic recovery“ from the pandemic slowdown, with job creation and „open, inclusive, rules-based trade.“ Other changes include new flexibility for trade in services across the region, including telecommunications, professional and financial services; improve mechanisms to eliminate non-tariff barriers, including in areas such as customs procedures, quarantine and technical standards; greater investment security for businesses; new e-commerce rules to facilitate e-commerce; a common set of intellectual property rules; and agreed rules of origin to increase the competitiveness of signatory markets within regional production chains. The signing of the RCEP brings together a total of 2.2 billion people and covers 28 percent of global trade Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called the agreement a „victorious victory of multilateralism and free trade,“ according to a report by the national news agency Xinhua on Sunday. On November 15, 2020, 15 countries – members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and five regional partners – signed the Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP), probably the largest free trade agreement in history. RCEP and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), concluded in 2018 and also dominated by East Asian members, are the only major multilateral free trade agreements signed under the Trump era.
President-elect Joe Biden said Monday that the United States must ally itself with other democracies to write the rules of global trade — not China.