We thank James Robertson, who spoke in person at the recent RCEP Summit in Nanning, Guangxi, representing NZBRIC and Fonterra.
The ten ASEAN countries initiated RCEP in 2011. Currently, there are 15 countries in this agreement, and New Zealand is one of the representatives. The theme of this year's summit was the promotion of the high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, with the multilateral FTA having recently come into force for almost all of the participating countries this year. Chinese officials provided speeches, including the Vice Chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Trade Ministers, Ambassadors, and businesses representing RCEP nations.
NZBRiC was invited to attend and speak at the 2nd RCEP Economic and Trade Cooperation Business Summit in Nanning, Guangxi, on the 16th of September. The summit forms a part of the wider China-ASEAN expo (CA Expo) held annually in Nanning, with speeches provided (virtually and in person) by ASEAN Presidents and Trade Ministers. The CA expos involves an opening ceremony, summits on RCEP, E-Commerce, and a trade show with country pavilions showcasing businesses.
Due to the present for the NZ China FTA and the ASEAN, Australia NZ FTA, and CPTPP, RCEP provides minimal benefits to NZ exporters other than limited pockets of preferential market access. James' talking points reinforced the need for continued collaboration across Asia to support trade liberalisation. They highlighted the NZ-China FTA as an example of an FTA with high-quality implementation, benefiting both nations and strengthening trade relationships. The New Zealand Ambassador Clare Fernley also attended the summit and provided an in-person speech along the same lines, highlighting the need for strengthening trade relationships and reducing non-tariff barriers.
New Zealand's presence at the event was greatly received, showcasing China's strong commitment to growing trade in the Asia Pacific, leveraging the RCEP agreement to facilitate trade and connect supply chains.
Fantastic that you could be there, James – thanks for representing NZBRiC!