“Its membership includes a larger group of nations, in part because of China`s membership, which significantly increases the total gross domestic product (GDP) of RCEP members,” said Rajiv Biswas, chief economist at analyst firm IHS Markit. Australia hopes the trade deal will improve relations with China, its largest trading partner. RCEP countries will also put in place a new framework for telecommunications regulation, building on existing ASEAN free trade agreements, which will focus on improving access and use of public telecommunications systems and access to key telecommunications equipment. The new framework will also ensure that RCEP countries do not discriminate 20%when providing access to submarine wiring systems. The agreement excludes the United States, which withdrew from an Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017. The new free trade bloc will be larger than the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada and the European Union. For international companies, the possibility of obtaining ASEAN status and the benefits of the free trade agreement that the region has is simple: all that is needed is for the foreign investor to set up a subsidiary in one of the ASEAN countries. It is just a geographical qualification. To this end, and as the region – and the countries of China and India – is immense, Singapore has become an Asian regional hub to reach ASEAN and beyond, and provide subsidiaries throughout the region to management, finance and other support services. ASEAN has attempted to improve customs coordination through the implementation of ASEAN`s “Single Windows” project. The ASEAN single window would allow importers to transmit all transaction information electronically.

This information would then be shared with all other ASEAN national customs authorities. Integration in Singapore is fast and simple – it is consistently the first to position itself in the World Bank`s global business rankings, while the city-state uses a high level of international standards in its laws and compliance. Singapore also offers a low corporate tax base of 17% and offers tax incentives to all SMEs, including foreign investors. As a result, some 7,0000 MNC companies have already begun operations in Singapore – only to examine what ASEAN has to offer, the adequacy of its various Member States to the creation of subsidiaries and the creation of ASEAN as a production base from which they can reach the domestic markets of China, India and beyond. The RCEP also contains obligations to ensure that signatories do not prevent the cross-border transfer of commercial data and information.