RCEP in the System of Mega-Regional Trade Agreements

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-2-23-32
V. Salamatov, VYSalamatov@itandi.ru
Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, 82, Prosp. Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119571, Russian Federation;
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, 76, Prosp. Vernadskogo, Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 11, Pokrovsky Blvr., Moscow, 109028, Russian Federation.
National Research University Higher School of Economics, 11, Pokrovsky Blvr., Moscow, 109028, Russian Federation.
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 1, bld. 51, Leninskie Gory, Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation.

Received 28.05.2021.

Abstract. The article analyzes the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in terms of agreements reached and effects on the international trade system. Having involved the issues of tariff protection, rules of origin, TBT and SPS barriers in trade, investments, dispute settlement mechanism, and other regulation RCEP has an impact on both megaregionalism and international political economy system. In addition to the system level, the article examines the influence that this FTA will have on Russia and comparative market access conditions for Russian exporters in the RCEP countries. In comparison with other mega-regional trade arrangements such as TTP, RCEP provides for a more flexible approach to the commitments of the RCEP countries. Alongside the fact that each participating state has individual tariff elimination schedules with prolonged transition period for some products, such countries as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Philippines, and Korea set differentiated tariff elimination schedules for certain participating states. Overall, the significance of RCEP is based upon two levels. First, this allowed to form a FTA that is of key importance for Southeast and East Asia, especially China, Japan, and Korea, which may be the basis for deeper integration. Second, RCEP is a case for megaregionalism revival against economic nationalism that seemed to be on the rise. Importantly, RCEP has non-western countries at its core, which puts the entire Asia to the fore of trade liberalization process. As for Russia, it is essential to secure the potential export niches, products, and services so to go up the value chain as well as to be cautious about potential surge in imports that may happen.

Keywords: RCEP, WTO, mega-regional trade agreements, megaregionalism, international trade system, free trade area, FTA, China, ASEAN, Russia


  1. Asia-Pacific Nations Sign World’s Biggest Trade Deal. Kyodo News, 15.11.2020. Available at: https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/11/e569b2a49e65-update1-asia-nations-sign-rcep-trade-deal-covering-third-of-global-economy.html (accessed 11.01.2021).
  2. Banga R., Gallagher K.P., Sharma P. RCEP: Goods Market Access Implications for ASEAN. GEGI Working Paper 045, 03.2021. 32 p. Available at: https://www.bu.edu/gdp/files/2021/03/GEGI_WP_045_FIN.pdf (accessed 13.04.2021).
  3. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Available at: https://rcepsec.org/wp-contet/uploads/2020/11/All-Chapters.pdf (accessed 11.02.2021).
  4. Salamatov V. Megaregional trade agreements. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2016, vol. 60, no. 9, pp. 17-27. (In Russ.) Available at: https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-9-17-27 
  5. Spartak A.N. Metamorphoses of the regionalization process: from regional trade agreements to mega-regional projects. Outlines of global transformations: politics, economics, law, 2017, no. 10 (4), pp. 13-37. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.23932/2542-0240- 2017-10-4-13-37
  6. Petri P.A., Plummer M.G. East Asia Decouples from the United States: Trade War, COVID19, and East Asia’s New Trade Blocs. Washington, Peterson Institute for International Economics, June 2020. 35 p. Available at: https://www.piie.com/system/files/documents/wp20-9.pdf (accessed 11.02.2021).
  7. Zhang M. RCEP as a New Development Model. Valdai Discussion Club, 10.02.2021. Available at: https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/rcep-as-a-new-development-model/ (accessed 25.03.2021).
  8. Lisovolik Ya.D. RCEP: a key milestone in the development of mega-regionalism. International Discussion Club “Valdai”, December 2020. (In Russ.) Available at: https://ru.valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/vrep-klyuchevaya-vekha-v-razvitii-megaregionalizma/ (accessed 25.03.2021).
  9. Petri P.A., Plummer M.G. RCEP: A New Trade Agreement that Will Shape Global Economics and Politics. Brookings Institute, November 16, 2020. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2020/11/16/rcep-a-new-trade-agreement-that-will-shape-global-economics-and-politics/ (accessed 12.02.2021).
  10. Taisuke A. Japan’s Search for a New Equilibrium in Asia. Valdai Discussion Club, 22.12.2020. Available at: https://valdaiclub.com/a/highlights/japan-s-search-for-a-new-equilibrium-in-asia/ (accessed 25.03.2021).
  11. Joint Media Statement of the 8th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting. 27 August, 2020. Available at: https://rcepsec.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/RCEP-MM-8-JMS.pdf (accessed 12.02.2021).
  12. Mega-regional Trade Agreements. Game-Changers or Costly Distractions for the World Trading System? World Economic Forum, July 2014. 50 p. Available at: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GAC/2014/WEF_GAC_TradeFDI_MegaRegionalTradeAgreements_Report_2014.pdf (accessed 25.03.2021).
  13. Akman M.S., Armstrong S., Dadush U., Gonzalez A., Kimura F., Nakagawa J., Rashish P., Tamura A., Primo Braga C.A. World Trading System under Stress: Scenarios for the Future. Global Policy, January 23, 2020. DOI: 10.1111/1758- 5899.12776
  14. Bown Chad P. Mega-Regional Trade Agreements and the Future of the WTO. Global Policy, 2017, vol. 8, iss. 1, pp. 107-112.
  15. Who Gains from RCEP, Asia’s New Trade Pact? The Economist, November 19, 2020. Available at: https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2020/11/19/who-gains-from-rcep-asias-new-trade-pact (accessed 25.03.2021).
  16. Data on customs statistics of foreign trade of the Russian Federation in terms of goods, countries, time periods. Federal Customs Service of RF, 2021. (In Russ.) Available at: https://customs.gov.ru/statistic (accessed 13.03.2021).
  17. Trade Statistics for International Business Development. Monthly, Quarterly and Yearly Trade Data. Import & Export Values, Volumes, Growth Rates, Market Shares, etc. International Trade Centre, 2020. Available at: https://www.trademap.org/ (accessed 14.04.2021).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Salamatov V., Tangaeva A., Kolomin V. RCEP in the System of Mega-Regional Trade Agreements. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, No 2, pp. 23-32. https://doi.org/10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-2-23-32

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Current Issue
2022, vol. 66, No. 11
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Developing Countries in the New Equation of the Post-Crisis World Order 
  • U.S. Public Diplomacy as a Tool for “Political Warfare” 
  • Central Europe: Possible Scenarios
  • The Collapse of the Global Consumption Model: in Search of Sustainability
  • Future Wars in Light of the Past Experience
Submit an Article

In response to the challenges of our time the Editorial board continues to open new thematic rubrics:

“World Energy Sector after Pandemic”. We plan to publish articles presenting in-depth analysis of influence of Pandemic on the global energy sector and forecasts of further developments in its various branches.