An historic trade agreement was signed today governing trade between 15 Asian and Indo-Pacific countries that together represent 30% of global trade. It is now the largest trade bloc in the world, eclipsing both the USMCA (United States/Mexico/Canada) free trade agreement and the European Union trade bloc.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The deal was signed on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), hosted by Vietnam. Said Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, “I am delighted to say that after eight years of hard work, as of today, we have officially brought RCEP negotiations to a conclusion for signing.” — BBC
“The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world’s population and GDP, making it the largest trade bloc. It was signed at the Vietnam-hosted virtual ASEAN Summit on 15 November 2020, and is expected to take effect within two years, after it has been ratified by the member countries.” — Wikipedia
In addition to the ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) five of their FTA partners — Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea — have signed on. India is likely to request ‘Observer’ status, with the new bloc extending a warm welcome to India to join them at a later date in this exciting new trade agreement.
The deal was signed on Sunday in a virtual online signing ceremony headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam and has been a work-in-progress for 8-years.
15 countries, including Singapore, sign RCEP, the world’s largest trade pact — Straits Times
Perhaps Serving Notice to UK Negotiators to Get Brexit Done…
Had Brexit already taken place, the UK might’ve been invited to join such a trade bloc, or, at the very least, gain ‘Observer’ status in what is now the largest (by GDP and by population) trading bloc in the world, encompassing 30% of global GDP and a third of global population.
Should India join, it’s likely that Bangladesh would also join, rising both percentages cited above substantially higher.
What country wouldn’t want to be part of a rapidly developing group of countries that might soon represent 40% of global GDP and 50% of the world’s population?
Endlessly bickering about Brexit just won’t cut it in the 21st-century. Nowadays, things happen fast — and you either act promptly or you lose place in the international order. And that’s as it should be…
In the Meantime, There’s Free Trade Agreements that Should’ve been Signed with The Commonwealth and with America Long Ago!
So, let’s get on with it, before more industrious nations leave the UK sitting on the sidelines… again! (NAFTA first, CPTPP second, USMCA third, and RCEP fourth!)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done a great job so far, but if other countries can sign historic trade deals in the midst of a pandemic, then the UK should be able to do the same. And we all know why that hasn’t happened…
It’s time to get the scissors out Prime Minister and release the UK from the Gordian Knot that the EU has tied around the United Kingdom.
After years of on-again, off-again negotiations, the UK and the European Union still haven’t been able to sign a viable trade deal allowing uninterrupted trade between the two countries.
But the UK has faced far bigger challenges in the 20th-century and in every previous century, and wound up victorious every time — therefore, in regards to Brexit, it’s time to cut our losses and move-on, and Leave the European Union just as UK voters instructed their politicians to do back on June 23, 2016.
In fact, all the years of back and forth negotiations, all the friction that’s occurred between the two blocs since 2016, and the billions the UK has handed over in the meantime to continue paying more than their fair share of the EU budget, has resulted in even more needless emotional trauma to all sides.
It’s now patently obvious that a WTO-style Brexit in 2016/17 would have been better for the UK, it’s business community, and for ordinary Britons too, had Britain just ‘up and left’ without a deal and went straight to a WTO trading relationship (beginning January 1, 2017) with the European Union.
Had UK MP’s followed both the letter and spirit of those instructions, the UK would’ve left the European Union on January 1, 2017 (probably on WTO terms) and gotten straight to work on what matters most to Britons — and all of it without a 1389-day delay!
Think about it. 1389-days later (and counting) we’re no closer to a Brexit trade deal with the EU than in January 2017!
After all the gyrations, after all the negative publicity, after all the name-calling, and all that grief — and nothing to show for it 1389-days later. Which I many times predicted throughout the entire Brexit saga.
It isn’t good enough; It isn’t what citizens are paying their politicians for in either bloc. The entire shambolic escapade of (former UK Prime Minister Theresa May) trying to get a deal — while the EU was seemingly trying to not get a deal — has been a colossal waste of everyone’s life. And that translates into a lot of wasted time and money for everyone.
I understood the EU’s position perfectly, it’s just that others didn’t.
The European Union doesn’t want a sudden exodus of countries from it’s bloc and therefore, making the UK’s exit from the EU seem like the biggest ordeal in the world might deter some EU-member nations from leaving.
My point is, UK politicians should’ve known that. They shouldn’t have fallen for so many false narratives/red herrings/obfuscation. But they did — and that’s the problem.
And that disability is called naivety.
European Union leaders shouldn’t be blamed for trying to make Britain’s exit from the EU as difficult as possible; I can relate to that, because if my 2nd-best economic contributor was trying to leave my bloc/organization/family, I’d be tempted to make life difficult for them. But I would hope that I didn’t get too carried away with making them PAY, PAY, PAY! for wanting to leave and skip to the infinitely more important point of trying to arrange a workable new arrangement, ASAP.
And that ability is called maturity.
Therefore, I respectfully call on UK politicians to become much less naive with regard to the European Union’s position (a bloc now proven to not be working in the best interests of the UK — and why would it? It’s in business for the EU) and I respectfully call on EU politicians to begin thinking in much more expedient terms for the remainder of the year so that a viable trade deal can be arranged between the two parties — to benefit citizens and businesses on both sides of the English Channel.
One would hope there will be a UK/EU trade deal signed by 2021, but there’s no reason good enough to give away the entire country as a way to obtain a trade deal — a deal that should be as important to the EU as it is to Britain.
The EU mindset seems to be to stridently ask for everything and if the Brits are incompetent enough to grant everything, then the EU won’t mind taking it.
But it seems that every time the UK government stands up for UK business and for Britons, the cries of being treated unfairly reach another record-setting crescendo.
Listen to the rhetoric that the EU side is using to force the UK to agree to their terms:
“The UK needs to take “significant steps” in the coming days to secure a trade deal with the EU, the European Council president said.”
“Charles Michel said talks were approaching a “moment of truth” ahead of a crucial EU summit…”
“The Irish PM, Micheál Martin said “movement” was required before “end-state negotiations”…”
“…Mr Michel said… the UK side needed to take “significant steps”…”
“The coming days are crucial,” he added.” — Excerpts from BBC
There’s nothing like putting all the pressure on the UK side hoping they panic and agree to sign everything away at the last minute! That’s obviously the EU tactic here.
The EU (so far) has Taught the UK that Polite Diplomacy Doesn’t Work
“Everyday, we teach others how to treat us.”
The UK side has played the entire Brexit thing very politely. In fact, too politely.
Former British Prime Minister Theresa May flew to Brussels dozens of times (often on very short notice) with no way to prepare as she wasn’t always told what was to be discussed — only to return later that day, disappointed, frustrated, empty-handed and beat-up after listening to another EU browbeating.
On top of all that, she was forced to face the then-cowed UK Parliament (not all of them, but enough to add more misery to her day) and face the then mostly pro-EU media.
She deserved better than she got.
I still feel sorry for Theresa May who was the UK’s diplomatic champion yet got nothing but disrespect from all sides. She deserves an OBE for her perseverance and for displaying almost superhuman goodwill towards the Inquisition panel over in Brussels.
Now we have Prime Minister Boris Johnson fighting for the UK and with a very capable team. Good luck, Boris! You’re going to need it.
More than anything else, were I advising UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, I would suggest he hire several of the UK’s best psychologists to explain to Boris and his team what is going on in the EU heads.
And I’m happy to inform you as to what those psychologists might say…
‘Mr. Johnson, there’s no agreement that will ever be good enough for the EU. They are suffering because their best example of what the EU is trying to attract to their bloc decided to leave and they are embarrassed and upset. And to add further pain, the UK was their 2nd-best economic contributor to the European Union annual budget.’
‘Nothing you can offer them Boris, will ever be good enough, no matter what! Therefore, trying to give them a sweet deal on fishing rights, automobile trade, energy, or anything else in an attempt to soothe their hurt feelings represents the worst kind of political folly.’
‘Therefore, please walk away Boris if they’re going to put a higher priority on their bad mood than on their future relationship with the UK and The Commonwealth of Nations.’
Let ourselves never fall into the trap the EU has set for itself.