Trade between the United States and China has never been as cold as it is today. Now China has signed the world’s largest free trade agreement with 14 other countries in Asia and the Pacific. What does Europe look like now?
Berlin (dpa) – After the Asia-Pacific free trade agreement, from the perspective of the International Chamber of Commerce, Europe should also accelerate free trade.
“Europe has to ask itself what visions for the future it has. We need rapid progress here, ”the German branch of the economic organization, ICC Germany, said on Monday. The current situation should be a wake-up call for the agreement between the European Union and Canada to be approved quickly. The chamber also criticized the fact that the plan for a free trade area with the South American confederation Mercosur has been suspended.
The EU and Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay (Mercosur) reached a political agreement in principle on this in 2019. However, several EU states are questioning them because they demand greater protection of the rainforest. The Ceta Agreement (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) with Canada has been provisionally in force since 2017. There are lawsuits against it and the Bundestag cannot ratify the agreement before the Federal Constitutional Court has made a decision.
On Sunday, China signed the world’s largest free trade agreement with 14 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The “regional comprehensive economic partnership” or RCEP, as the pact is abbreviated, comprises 2.2 billion people and about a third of the world’s economic output. The agreement lowers tariffs, defines uniform rules, and thus simplifies supply chains.
“Even if the details are yet to be determined: the strategic importance of an economic area that could surpass the European Union in terms of economic power in a few years is enormous,” said Holger Bingmann, president of ICC Germany. “This also offers potential for German companies that are active in the new free trade zone that is to be created.”
Over the weekend, critics complained that the RCEP lacked adequate regulations for the liberalization of economies and for environmental and occupational safety.