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New Zealand To Ratify RCEP – Good Move Says Business Forum

Final steps are being completed for New Zealand’s ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Agreement, which brings implementation of the Agreement’s useful provisions a step closer, says the NZ International Business Forum (NZIBF).

“This is good news at a difficult time for international trade. RCEP is a significant new platform for extending trade rules across the Asia-Pacific region and provides modest but useful market access benefits for New Zealand exporters”, said NZIBF Chair Philip Gregan.

New Zealand already has FTAs with RCEP members but was able to achieve new market access into Indonesia on a range of products such as sheep meat, beef, fish products, liquid milk, cheese, honey, avocados, tomatoes and persimmons. In addition, improved customs procedures will facilitate New Zealand exports of perishable products across the RCEP region and other commitments including in services and investment will add to the rule book for trade and investment with Asian countries.

“In a world where protectionist sentiment remains strong, we need to make progress where we can. The gains from RCEP would clearly have been greater if India had not withdrawn and we hope India will make use of RCEP’s fast track procedures to join RCEP in the future”.

The RCEP Legislation Bill passed its third reading on 21 October and received Royal Assent on 27 October. New Zealand will now formally notify its ratification to the Secretary-General of ASEAN as the official depositary for the RCEP agreement.

“We welcome the bipartisan support for RCEP ratification at a time when New Zealand’s ability to trade internationally has never been more important. We encourage MPs to look favourably at New Zealand’s other trade initiatives and commend the Government and officials for their continuing efforts”.

RCEP’s entry into force which will occur 60 days after the date on which at least three non-ASEAN signatories and six ASEAN signatories have notified that they have ratified. New Zealand will join Japan and China as three non-ASEAN signatories who have completed their domestic processes and several other ASEAN members are reported to be very close.

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