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Southwest China's Chongqing Advocates Deeper RCEP Cooperation

By RAN ZHENGICHONGQING|Aug 16,2022

Chongqing-  A plan for fully implementing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was released on August 4 by Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality to increase its foreign trade value with RCEP partners to 300 billion yuan (about $44.4 billion US dollars) by 2026.  

Connect with the RCEP at a higher level 

The RCEP, the world’s largest free trade agreement by economic and population size, came into effect on January 1, 2022, bringing significant opportunities to Chongqing. In the first half of this year, Chongqing’s import and export values with the RCEP members reached 132.3 billion yuan, an increase of 11.6%.

Due to Chongqing’s growing relationship with RCEP countries, their cooperation in various fields has deepened in recent years. The trade scale of Chongqing has increased from 127 billion yuan in 2016 to 236.8 billion yuan in 2021.

By following the plan, Chongqing is committed to promoting foreign trade, adding new trade channels, and upgrading its business platform to encourage its entrepreneurs to cooperate with RCEP members, making Chongqing an outstanding example of an advanced level of opening up. 

Focusing on competitive products 

According to the plan, Chongqing will develop a list of export commodities that qualify for tax deductions under the RCEP based on industrial characteristics. It will focus on competitive export products with zero tariffs in the first year and significant tariff reductions within five years. Chongqing’s exports to the RCEP members are expected to exceed 110 billion yuan by 2026.

The List of the RCEP Tax-deductible Export Commodities

The List of the RCEP Tax-deductible Export Commodities. (iChongqing/ Zheng Ran)

Meanwhile, Chongqing will encourage characteristic enterprises, such as China Time-honored Brands and Chongqing Time-honored Brands, to promote Bayu culture and expand market and brand influence in RCEP countries.

The plan will benefit both Chongqing’s exporters and companies and citizens by increasing access to imports. The city plans to import commodities with zero tariffs in the first year and significant tariff reductions within five years. Chongqing’s import value from the RCEP members is expected to pass 190 billion yuan in 2026.

The List of the RCEP Tax-deductible Import Commodities

The List of the RCEP Tax-deductible Import Commodities. (iChongqing/ Zheng Ran)

Investment from RCEP members exceeding 1 billion US dollars

Looking to develop the first-store economy, Chongqing will encourage well-known brands of RCEP members to open their first global, national, and regional stores, flagship stores, and chain stores in the city. Meanwhile, it will inspire international high-end, original designers to debut new products in Chongqing. From 2022 to 2026, Chongqing will use 1 billion US dollars of foreign capital from RCEP members.

In addition, Chongqing will attract investments from Global Fortune 500 enterprises and technologically advanced SMEs (Small or Medium Enterprise) to facilitate new generation information technology, new energy vehicles, and intelligent networked vehicles.

Chongqing will continue to support its competitive industries, including automobiles, motorcycles, and general machinery, to expand its business in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. Cooperation will be promoted with Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Laos in energy minerals, agriculture, and manufacturing.

To develop an international distribution hub, more and more new passenger and cargo routes are being planned connecting Chongqing and RCEP partners.

(Yang Qinmei, as an intern, also contributed to this report.)

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