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ASEAN played central role in driving RCEP trade pact, contrary to perception it is China-led (Straits Times)

30 Nov ASEAN played central role in driving RCEP trade pact, contrary to perception it is China-led (Straits Times)

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement after eight years of negotiations was a significant milestone. However, there is a common misperception that China led the trade discussions. In an interview with the Straits Times, Associate Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, SIIA, said, “It was ASEAN that crafted a framework of principles to guide the (RCEP) process forward with its other partners. This prior preparation by ASEAN and the long and challenging path shows that RCEP was never the case of China or any single country dictating terms.”