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New pact to spur tech upgrades nationwide

By FAN FEIFEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-06-13 09:19
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A worker with the Qinhuangdao Council for the Promotion of International Trade in Hebei province shows the first RCEP certificate of origin issued by the council. CAO JIANXIONG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, which took effect on Jan 1, will spur technological innovation of Chinese enterprises, accelerate the upgrading of traditional industries, and add more resilience to regional industrial and supply chains, experts said.

"Since the implementation of the RCEP agreement, China will likely make full use of its advantages in human resources and scientific research investment to enhance its competitiveness in the middle and high-end industrial chains in the region," said Wang Meiting, a researcher with the BOC Research Institute.

Wang said after the RCEP agreement took effect, an increasing number of products and services of other member states have been entering the Chinese market, which will increase the variety of supply, stimulate market vitality and enhance the innovative capacity of enterprises.

The agreement will also intensify competition and prompt Chinese enterprises to ramp up innovation efforts and enhance the added value of products, so as to boost their competitiveness on the global stage, Wang added.

The agreement that grouped 15 Asia-Pacific economies-China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-has created the world's largest free trade bloc by promoting regional economic integration through tariff concessions and other trade and investment liberalization and facilitation measures.

The RCEP region covers a market of 2.2 billion people, or nearly 30 percent of the world's population, with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion or about 30 percent of global GDP, accounting for nearly 28 percent of global trade.

Liu Yingkui, deputy head of the Academy of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, said the RCEP will promote member states to optimize regional industrial layouts and realize more effective allocation of resources.

Liu said Chinese enterprises should attach more importance to technological innovation, follow international rules, actively participate in the division of labor in the global industrial chain, and bolster the integration and development of the industrial chain.

"China owns the most complete industrial chain that covers low, medium or high-end industries. In the fields of electronic information, energy conservation, biomedicine and intelligent manufacturing, the country could strengthen cooperation with developed countries such as Singapore, Japan and South Korea," Liu said.

It could also collaborate with Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Myanmar and Indonesia in the exploitation of energy resources, Liu said, adding China and Southeast Asian countries are highly complementary in agriculture, and have huge cooperation potential in terms of agricultural personnel training, agricultural technology R&D, cultivation and agricultural product processing.

Industry experts also said the trade agreement is expected to bolster the upgrade and transformation of China's manufacturing industry, unleashing the innovative vitality of enterprises.

The RCEP will promote member states to strengthen cooperation in industrial and supply chains and facilitate efficient flow of capital and production factors, said Bai Ming, deputy director of international market research at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

Chinese enterprises should beef up efforts to move toward high value-added industries, bolster their own transformation and upgrade through technological innovation, and better leverage the RCEP agreement to seek new growth points, enhance resilience and boost competitiveness, Bai said.

"The tariff concessions have brought us direct revenues," said Cui Yi, head of the international market department at Dongguan Glorystar Laser Technology Co, a high-tech company producing laser cutting machines.

Many potential customers in RCEP economies will pay more attention to high-quality products and brands in other member states, not just their local brands, Cui said.

The RCEP has reduced trade barriers for Chinese exports. Glorystar said it has opened more offices in RCEP member states to expand its presence in overseas markets.

Cui said although the company faces fierce competition from rivals in Japan and South Korea, it will enhance competitiveness through making innovations in products and services in laser technology and equipment.

"In addition, we are strengthening our service capacities in Vietnam and Australia, and recruiting local technicians to improve services for local customers," Cui said.

Hu Huazhi, chairman and CEO of EHang, a Chinese autonomous aerial vehicle maker, said as the RCEP ushers in favorable policies for international cooperation, the company will further accelerate development of the urban air mobility sector in the Asia-Pacific region.

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