U.S. Chamber Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP)

Monday, November 16, 2020 - 7:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant issued the following statement today regarding the recently signed Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP):

“The U.S. Chamber welcomes the trade-liberalizing benefits of the newly signed Regional Comprehensive Partnership Agreement but is concerned that the United States is being left behind as economic integration accelerates across the vital Asia-Pacific region. While U.S. exports to the Asia-Pacific market have steadily increased in recent decades, our market share has been shrinking in relative terms.

“The Asia-Pacific is forecast by the IMF to regain an average growth rate over five percent in 2021. According to the OECD, Asia will represent 66% of the global middle-class population by 2030, doubling its share in 20 years. U.S. exporters, workers, and farmers need access to these lucrative markets if they are to share in this dramatic growth.

“China has become the most important trading partner for most of the Asia-Pacific, and its central role in the RCEP will only cement this position. While the Trump Administration has moved to confront unfair trade practices by China, it has secured only limited new opportunities for U.S. exporters in other parts of Asia. The administration departed the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement in early 2017 and has not concluded any comprehensive new trade deals in Asia since that time. 

“Given the shortcomings of RCEP, we would not recommend the United States joining. The United States should however adopt a more forward-looking, strategic effort to maintain a solid U.S. economic presence in the region. Otherwise, we risk being on the outside looking in as one of the world’s primary engines of growth hums along without us.”