Thai E-Newsletter, Volume V, No.10RCEP MEMBERS AGREE TO ELIMINATE TARIFFS ON 65% OF TRADE IN GOODS
October 26, 2015.
The Commerce Ministry said last week that the 16 countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) had finally agreed to eliminate tariffs on 65 per cent of trade in goods among them, creating huge benefits for all and helping to compensate for potential losses as a result of Thailand's current non-involvement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The RCEP agreement is expected to be signed during the ASEAN leaders' summit to be held in Malaysia in November, and enforced next year.
Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn said the accomplishment of waiving tariffs for 65 per cent of trade in goods - equivalent to 8,000-9,000 items - represented the greatest start to full market liberalization between the pact's signatories. The RCEP should help compensate for the potential loss arising from Thailand not yet having joined the TPP, she said. Under the agreed first step in RCEP trade liberalization, tariffs covering 65 per of trade will be immediately cut to zero following the pact's implementation.
In the next phase, tariffs on another 20 per cent of trade in goods will be gradually reduced to zero within 10 years, while import duties for the remaining 15 per cent will remain in place or be gradually reduced to 5-10 per cent, as those products comprise the list of sensitive goods drawn up by member states.
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