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Thanks to RCEP: 70% of Chongqing's Pickles Exports Goes to Member Countries

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|Jul 05,2022

Foreign trade enterprises in various industries have been paying attention to the opportunities brought by RCEP, where the trade volume between China and the other 14 RCEP member countries increased by 4.2% yearly in the first five months of this year, accounting for over 30% of China’s foreign trade imports and exports.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which came into force on January 1 this year, is the world’s most significant free trade agreement. Members include ASEAN countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

In the past five years, the scale of import and export trade between Chongqing and RCEP countries has continued to expand

In the past five years, the import and export trade scale between Chongqing and RCEP countries has continued to expand. (iChongqing/ Zheng Ran)

Huge market potential of RCEP

In Chongqing, pickled mustard producers took advantage of RCEP to increase exports to Japan, South Korea, and Southeast Asian countries. From January to May this year, Chongqing exported 48.8 million yuan (about 7.3 million U.S. dollars) of pickles to RCEP member countries, accounting for over 70% of Chongqing’s total pickles exports.

Chongqing's pickled mustard producers took advantage of the RCEP

Chongqing’s pickled mustard producers took advantage of the RCEP. (iChongqing/ Zheng Ran)

Furthermore, in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province, with the help of RCEP, the export of ceramics continues to rise. With the certificate of origin, Jingdezhen Jiajia Ceramics Co., Ltd. now exports daily-use ceramics worth 99,000 U.S. dollars to Japan and can enjoy a tariff reduction of 32,000 yuan.

“RCEP is likely to change our global supply chain layout, and we will compare and select raw material import destinations,” said Zeng Hui, sales director of the automotive glass department of Xinyi Group. “In the past, we imported materials from the United States, but now we choose Japan and South Korea instead.”

The tariffs on daily-use ceramics exported from China to Japan were reduced twice this year. From January to May, Jingdezhen’s ceramic exports to RCEP countries increased by 298.9% year on year.

Innovative initiatives for RCEP

In May of this year, the Chengdu government issued a list of trade opportunities for essential commodities with RCEP members, covering 14 countries and 8,245 commodity categories. The commodity categories were products whose import and export tariffs were reduced to zero in the first year RCEP takes effect. 

An official from Chengdu Customs District said enterprises could inquire about key countries, enterprises, industries, and commodities specified by RCEP according to their needs. It would promote more Sichuan-made products to go abroad.

In Qingdao, Shandong Province, in addition to arranging RCEP open classes every week, the RCEP Shandong Enterprise Service Center has linked multiple departments such as customs, taxation, notarization, and arbitration. Their service windows can provide foreign trade enterprises with “one-stop” services, including commercial certificates, issuing certificates of origin, and export tax rebates.

Accelerating RCEP channel construction

The trade explosion among RCEP members has also asked for more efficient logistics and transportation.

This month, the China-Japan RCEP express opened in Qingdao, Shandong Province. This Qingdao-Osaka express line has higher loading efficiency and faster speed than container ships. It is expected to handle 20,000 TEUs of goods within the year and achieve a trading volume of about 10.5 billion U.S. dollars.

Diao Junping, head of Qingdao Nokwoo Beanjam manufacturing Co., Ltd., said that in this way, their company’s sugar natto could ship to Japanese customers within two days.

Besides, in the Port of Tianjin, the opening of the China-Australia Express has also shortened the sailing service time to 21 days from Tianjin to Sydney, which greatly meets the increasing export demand of foreign trade enterprises for steel products, textiles and other goods.

A test train of the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC) international intermodal train, from Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality to Tibet to South Asia, departed recently. (Photo provided to iChongqing)

Yuan Bo, deputy director of the Asia Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce, said that since this year, China and RCEP members have redoubled the efforts to construct the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor (ILSTC), China-Laos railway and RCEP regional routes. These improved the regional cross-border logistics and trade facilitation and landed an excellent development environment for RCEP members to deepen cooperation.

( Zhu Qinzhuo, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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