Belt and Road Weekly Investor Intelligence, #40

Posted by Reading Time: 2 minutes

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

This week we focus on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement which China has just ratified and says it expects to come into operation from January 1, 2022 – just five months away. The RCEP free trade agreement includes China, Japan, South Korea, the ASEAN nations of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam together with Australia and New Zealand.

For global businesses and investors, the RCEP’s sheer size makes it significant. Participating economies account for 29 percent of global GDP and about 30 percent of the world’s population. This equates to a market value of close to US$25 trillion and a total consumer base of about 2.5 billion, of whom an estimated 1 billion cater to middle class consumer standards.

We provide specific updates on how companies from the United States, European Union, and United Kingdom can leverage their existing FTAs and DTAs to access this important trade bloc.

Elsewhere we discuss how the Belt & Road Initiative is moving away from an infrastructure investment play to a global cash flow generator and examine the potential for Algeria’s El Hamdania Port – Africa’s largest – and the possibility for the Kuril Islands between Japan and Russia becoming a Free Trade Zone.

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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

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Dezan Shira & Associates provide business intelligence, market research, legal, tax and compliance issues for foreign investors throughout Asia, and have 28 offices across the region. We are members of the Leading Edge Alliance, a network of related firms with offices throughout the world. For assistance with Belt & Road Initiative research, please contact us at or visit us at To subscribe to our Belt & Road Initiative portal, please click here.