RCEP: Asia-Pacific Countries Form World’s Largest Trading Bloc With China

China and 14 other countries have agreed to form the world’s largest free-trade bloc, encompassing nearly a third of all economic activity, in a deal many in Asia are hoping will help hasten recovery from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was signed virtually on Sunday on the sidelines of the annual summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement is an agreement to broaden and deepen ASEAN’s engagement with Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand.  

RCEP’s economic significance

RCEP will connect about 30% of the world’s people and output and, in the right political context, will generate significant gains. RCEP could add $209 billion annually to world incomes, and $500 billion to world trade by 2030. According to ET, RCEP aims is to lower tariffs, open up trade in services, and promote investment to help emerging economies catch up with the rest of the world.


Member States

Member states of ASEAN and their FTA partners are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.


The Objectives of RCEP

Specifically, RCEP is expected to help reduce costs and time for companies by allowing them to export a product anywhere within the bloc without meeting separate requirements for each country. The objective of the RCEP Agreement is to establish a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership that will facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development.

China’s Role

RCEP was pushed by Beijing in 2012 in order to counter another FTA that was in the works at the time: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The US-led TPP excluded China. However, in 2016 US President Donald Trump withdrew his country from the TPP. Since then, the RCEP has become a major tool for China to counter the US efforts to prevent trade with Beijing. The accord is a coup for China, by far the biggest market in the region with more than 1.3 billion people, allowing Beijing to cast itself as a “champion of globalization and multilateral cooperation” and giving it greater influence over rules governing regional trade, Gareth Leather, senior Asian economist for Capital Economics, said in a report.

Now that Trump’s opponent Joe Biden has been declared president-elect, the region is watching to see how US policy on trade and other issues will evolve.

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With Proper Guidance from Lawyers Safeguard your IP in China

China has become one of the world’s major IP jurisdictions. Innovation and IP protection have been encouraged by the Chinese government. Foreign companies can register IP in China for trademarks, patents, designs, and copyright. With the right guidance from IP lawyers, safeguard your company’s intellectual property in China and increase your company’s valuation.


 Discover how protecting intellectual property in China can increase the valuation of your company.

China has consciously sought to fulfill its international obligations in intellectual property rights protection, endeavoring to bring its intellectual property protection level near the new international standards. China has taken many major measures to further raise its current level of intellectual property rights protection. Chinese have taken the art of IP infringement to a new level and given the recent US-China trade escalation; foreign companies need to take a more cautious approach in reducing their IP threat in China.

The failure to protect intellectual property in China may put your business at a competitive disadvantage and could reduce your company’s valuation. The owner of a copyright has the exclusive right to reproduce copyrighted work. These works include original literary works, computer programs, musical works, and audiovisual works. Some intellectual property is best protected by keeping quiet about it. If your work is not patentable, or you prefer to protect it using the trade secrets law, limit the number of people you tell about it.


Are there any benefits from a pre-filing use of the trademark?

The benefits from a pre-filing use are minimal since rights are obtained via registration. However, the applicant can use this to demonstrate the mark’s distinctiveness and overcome opposition on the ground of non-distinctiveness.


What are the phases of application after a trademark has been filed in China?

Three phases are there:

  1. Examination
  2. Publication
  3. Registration


China has become one of the world’s major IP jurisdictions. Innovation and IP protection have been encouraged by the Chinese government. Foreign companies can register IP in China for trademarks, patents, designs, and copyright. However, each of these is administered by a different government body. The primary law in China pertains to copyright. This protects copyrighted works of foreigners that are either first published in China or in countries that are signatories to the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) copyright protection treaty.


The first type of intellectual property right is a trade secret. All inventions generally start as a trade secret of the inventor. Inventors have an instinctual desire to keep their ideas secret. To market your invention, you should protect your idea with one or more of the other types of intellectual property rights: patents, trademarks, and copyrights.


IP is divided into two categories: Industrial property includes but is not limited to patents for inventions, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographical indications. Copyright covers literary works like novels, poems and plays, films, music, and artistic works, for example, drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, web site pages, and architectural design. Protecting intellectual property in China is a complex duty with aspects that fall under the purview of legal, IT, human resources, and other departments. Appointing IP lawyers is a good decision as they can easily unify intellectual property protection efforts. IP attorneys can play a major role in the smooth operation of your business in China.

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