The fourth regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP) leaders' meeting was held by video on November 15. After the meeting, 15 RCEP Member States formally signed the regional comprehensive economic partnership (RCEP). At the online signing ceremony held on the same day, the ministers of trade and economic cooperation of 10 ASEAN countries, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand signed the agreement in turn. Leaders of 15 member countries witnessed the signing of this major global free trade agreement.
It is understood that RCEP consists of 20 chapters, covering comprehensive market access commitments for goods, services and investment. It is a comprehensive, modern, high-quality and mutually beneficial free trade agreement. The overall liberalization level of trade in goods has reached more than 90%; the commitment of trade in services is significantly higher than that of the original "10 + 1" free trade agreement; the investment adopts the negative list mode to make market opening commitment; the rule field includes a higher level of trade facilitation, intellectual property, e-commerce, competition policy, government procurement, etc. RCEP also takes full account of the differences in economic scale and development level among members, and specially sets up chapters on small and medium-sized enterprises and economic and technological cooperation, so as to help developing members, especially the least developed members, fully share the achievements of RCEP.
In terms of intellectual property rights, RCEP provides a balanced and inclusive solution for the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights in the region. It covers copyright, trademarks, geographical indications, patents, designs, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folk arts, anti unfair competition, intellectual property law enforcement, cooperation, transparency, technical assistance and other fields. Its overall protection level is stronger than trips. It is clear that the relevant contents of RCEP intellectual property are aimed at deepening economic integration and cooperation through effective and sufficient creation, application, protection and implementation of intellectual property rights, so as to reduce the distortion and obstruction of trade and investment. With the exception of trips to which one Contracting Party is a party and multilateral agreements administered by the world intellectual property organization, each Contracting Party shall give the nationals of other contracting parties preferential treatment no less than that of its own nationals in respect of intellectual property protection.
It is understood that RCEP negotiation was initiated by 10 ASEAN countries in 2012, and six dialogue partners including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand were invited to participate. The third RCEP leaders' meeting was held in November 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, and issued a joint statement, announcing that all text negotiations and virtually all market access negotiations of 15 countries except India would be concluded. The signing of RCEP marks the successful launch of the global free trade area and a new milestone in the regional economic integration of East Asia. At present, RCEP has 15 member countries, accounting for about 30% of the world's total population, economy and trade, which means that about one third of the world's economy forms an integrated market. This will strongly support free trade and multilateral trade system, promote international cooperation in anti epidemic, stabilize regional industrial chain and supply chain, and boost regional and world economic recovery and development.