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RCEP boosts trade cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea – July 2023

Since RCEP came into effect in China and Japan in January  and South Korea in February of 2022, it became the first free trade agreement that fully includes all three economies of China, Japan and South Korea. The trade deal helps reduce the tariff costs of cross-border trade among its members and promotes such measures as self-declaration of origin by approved exporters.

China has now become Japan’s and South Korea’s largest trading partner. Meanwhile, South Korea and Japan have become China’s fourth- and fifth-largest trading partners, respectively, according to China’s General Administration of Customs.

In 2022, China-South Korea trade in goods hit approximately $362.3 billion, with Chinese exports to South Korea reaching $162.6 billion and Chinese imports from South Korea at $199.7 billion, Chinese customs data showed.

The commodities traded between China and South Korea have shifted from light industrial and heavy chemical products such as steel plates and fibers to high-value-added intermediate materials like semiconductors.

China’s trade in goods with Japan was $357.4 billion last year, with Chinese exports to Japan at $172.9 billion and Chinese imports from Japan at $184.5 billion, according to Chinese customs data.

Chinese exports to Japan consisted mainly of automobiles, machinery and electronic products, and its main imports were chemical products.

The GDP of China, Japan and South Korea accounts for over 80 percent of RCEP. The three economies play an essential role in implementing RCEP commitments and practically advancing the RCEP process.

To deepen cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea, China is seeking to restart the negotiations on China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Area to work together to build potentially one of the world’s largest high-level free trade area’s. Will be interesting to see if the US decides this is not in their interests and how to delicately appease Japan and South Korea’s economic interests over lingering security concerns.

Source  : CGTN – Editor: Yao Nian & Data editor: Zhao Hong

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