The RCEP Signing – Common Future and Shared Prosperity Towards Regional Cooperation

Published on 17 Jun 2021

KSI and the China Development Institute (CDI) co-hosted a webinar centred on the benefits of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the way forward. The webinar was hosted on Zoom.

Key points

  • RCEP ratification process has to be mindful of its direction the process differs from one country to another by taking account of the issues faced, the outlook, uncertainties, and the long-term effects post ratification.
  • In addition to the removal of most tariffs, RCEP must also remove non-trade barriers and focus on the region’s digital economy. This requires participating countries to establish regional cross-border e-commerce standards.
  • To leverage upon opportunities presented by RCEP, governments need to facilitate better knowledge of RCEP to their populace through all possible means.
  • Studies have shown that RCEP does not take away trade from non-RCEP countries, but can bring new trade into the region
  • The simplification of Rules of Origin does not provide clear guidelines for countries to facilitate production networks and the global value chain. The coherence of regulatory frameworks and non-tariff barriers need to be addressed.
  • BRI recognises that “one size does not fit all”. Countries that are less developed in sectors that have been previously been given less attention can be prioritised by so that no country is left behind in this framework.
  • Countries can select pilot areas to conduct high-quality experiences on economic cooperation using RCEP protocols and to obtain more data experiences in its implementation to eventually make these supply chains and value chains more successful.
  • The drafting of RCEP and BRI did not account for a situation like COVID. Provisions for the movement of labour have been rendered infeasible by the pandemic.
  • The framework of RCEP must go beyond trade by including vaccine security where successful countries such as China and Singapore can render assistance to countries in need.



  1. Prof. Fan Gang, President, China Development Institute (Opening Remarks)
  2. Tan Sri Dr. Michael Yeoh, President, KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific (Opening Remarks)
  3. Dr. Zhao Jinping, Former Director-General of the Research Department of Foreign Economic Relations, Development Research Center of the State Council
  4. Prof. Simon Tay, Chairman of Singapore Institute for International Affairs
  5. Prof. Kriengsak Chareonwongsak, President of Institute of Future Studies for Development / former Member of Parliament and Adviser to Prime Minister of Thailand
  6. Nguyen Anh Duong, Director of Department of General Research, Central Institute for Economic Management, Vietnam
  7. Assoc. Prof. Piti Srisaengnam, Director for Academic Affairs, ASEAN Studies Centre, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
  8. Dr. Yose Rizal Damuri, Head of Department of Economics, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Indonesia
  9. Prof. Joefe Santarita, Director of Asian Studies Center, University of the Philippines Diliman
  10. Prof. Lu Guangsheng, Dean of Institute of International Relations, Yunnan University
  11. Adj. Prof. Shazali Sulaiman, School of Business and Economics, University Brunei Darussalam


Download full proceedings report here: 


17 Jun 2021