On 5 February 2021, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from Indonesia, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) from Japan, and RSIS held a joint webinar on the topic “Evaluation of the Signing of the RCEP Agreement and Prospects for Regional Economic Integration in Asia”.
Prof Fukunari Kimura from the Faculty of Economics at Keio University and Chief Economist at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, spoke about the role of mega-free trade agreements in reducing policy uncertainties; and the formation of a pro-trade middle power coalition amid challenges of a weakening rule-based trading regime, Sino-US confrontation, and COVID-19. Dr Djisman Simandjuntak, Chair of the Board of Directors, CSIS Foundation, and Dr Dipinder Singh Randhawa, Adjunct Senior Fellow at RSIS, were the panel discussants while Prof Narushige Michishita, Vice President of GRIPS moderated the webinar. Prof Akihiko Tanaka, President of GRIPS, gave the opening remarks
Prof Kimura highlighted the role played by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in serving as a communication channel between Japan and South Korea despite the tensions between both countries. He urged India to join the RCEP, which will help to strengthen the pro-trade middle power coalition, and argued for an expansion of the membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Dr Djisman remarked that it was a historic achievement to bring China, Japan, and South Korea together via the RCEP agreement. He also said that global value chains will return at some point in the future despite the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Singh commented on the role of ASEAN centrality in designing the RCEP and suggested that there are several opportunities for more ASEAN-Japan cooperation in view of the 4th Industrial Revolution, climate change, and greater digitalisation of economies.
Catch it here on the RSISVideoCast YouTube channel: