Trade Background: Asia Pacific

Trade Background: Asia-Pacific

Blue Dot Network: The Belt and Road Alternative
The Diplomat, April 7, 2020

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

asean-logoThe Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established in 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Since then, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, and Cambodia joined, making up what is today the 10 member states of ASEAN.

The ASEAN Vision 2020, adopted by the ASEAN leaders on the 30th anniversary of ASEAN, agreed on a shared vision of ASEAN as a concert of Southeast Asian nations and an agreement to become an economic union by 2020. The agreement sets deadlines for lowering travel restrictions and tariffs in the region of 500 million people. In 2015, U.S. exports to ASEAN totaled $74.9 billion. California exports totaled nearly $11 billion, nearly 15 percent of all US exports to ASEAN. California is currently the top exporting state to ASEAN.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The APEC forum was formed in 1989. It serves as a multilateral forum in which Asian and Pacific economies can solve economic problems and cooperate in developing key economic sectors.The APEC economies are: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.

See CalChamber’s APEC Trade Issues Page for further information

Pacific Alliance

Mexico Says South Korea Seeking Associate Membership of Pacific Alliance Reuters, July 23, 2018

Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Monday that South Korea had initiated the process of seeking associate membership of the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.

Pacific Alliance Admits Four New Associate Members TZNV, June 29, 2017

The Pacific Alliance (Colombia, Mexico, Chile and Peru) has admitted News Zealand, Australia, Canada and Singapore as associate members. The associate membership status is seen as a first step towards expanding trade and investment with the group, a major supporter of free trade in the region. The alliance also announced it is looking at the possibility of creating a single passport for its four core member countries.

Trans – Pacific Partnership Agreement

The most recent meeting of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations took place in Singapore on May 18-20, 2014.

The ministers of the TPP countries focused in particular on making meaningful progress on market access and also advanced outstanding rules issues in an effort to narrow the remaining differences.
Joint Statement at the TPP Ministers Meeting in Singapore Singapore, May 18-20, 2014

See the CalChamber’s TPP Trade Issues Page for further information

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Negotiations are being finalized for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) with 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states—Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam—and the five states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs—Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

India originally was included as a sixth ASEAN FTA state; however, the country decided to pull out of the RCEP agreement in November 2019. Now that India has removed itself from the RCEP, the agreement still includes more than 2.1 billion people. RCEP negotiations were launched in November 2012 and concluded in 2018; however, the deadline for signing the RCEP agreement was then pushed back for a second time, expecting it to be signed by February 2020. Most recently, South Korea has called for the deal to be signed by the end of 2020.

The RCEP would be expected to grow to more than $100 trillion by 2050, double the projected size of Trans Pacific Partnership-11 (TPP-11) economies. It would be the biggest free trade agreement in the world, but without the United States or any membership from the Americas.

S. Korea to Push for Conclusion of Asia-Pacific Trade Deal this Year
The Korea Herald, July 8, 2020