The mega free trade pact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) took effect in South Korea on Tuesday.
South Korea is the 11th country to formally join RCEP after the trade pact came into force on January 1, 2022, for China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and six ASEAN economies – Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
RCEP, signed by a total of 15 Asia-Pacific countries in November 2020, covers a market of 2.2 billion people with a combined economic size of $26.2 trillion, or 30 percent of the world's GDP. Under the partnership, members will further ease market access standards, cut tariffs and offer reciprocal policies.
"This organization breaks through history and breaks down some assumptions about who will join what organizations. In that sense it breaks down barriers," Professor Michael Powers of the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University has told CGTN.
"Asia as a whole has to first and foremost work hard to ensure their development is going to be sustainable, their development is going to be equitable, their development is going to be inclusive. And equally important I think Asia as a whole, big countries China, India and Japan and others have to cooperate by taking care of their differences," Rong Ying, deputy dean of the China Institute of International Studies.