CME WELCOMES THE SIGNING OF THE RCEP DEAL BUT INVITE TO CLOSELY MONITOR THE RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA, TO IMPROVE PEOPLE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT AND TO DEVELOP AN ASEAN CURRENCY
Thursday, 19 November 2020: The Center for Market Education (CME) welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which potentially leads to the creation of the world biggest free trade area.
“Free trade agreements are beneficial for all the parties involved and lead to the availability of better and cheaper products for the consumers in the area”, said Dr Carmelo Ferlito, CEO of CME.
Surely, the agreement will also be of help in the post-Covid-19 recovery path by creating growth and job opportunities.
The Center for Market Education, however, invites to monitor two important aspects which are very much crucial to make RCEP effective and to achieve its desired outcomes.
- Monitor the relationship with China.
It is important that the new free trade area does not turn to be an economic colonization area for China. On the contrary, RCEP needs to be the occasion for China to embrace the relationship between free trade and fair trade; in fact, for the development of a true free trade agreement, duty policies are only a part of the picture: it is also necessary an institutional framework which supports that free trade making it fair. It is well known, in fact, that the Chinese legal framework is not always respectful of copyrights and needs to be strengthened. The same goes for the respect of human rights: economic ties can be an occasion to shape a change in the traditional Chinese approach to the rights of minorities and to the freedom of religion, opinion and speech.
- A free trade area cannot be accompanied by rising nationalistic tensions on the people freedom of movement. Recent tendencies in countries like Malaysia and Singapore with regards to the hiring of foreign workers do not go in the same direction that RCEP would like to go.
“For an effective action on these two points”, Dr Ferlito added, “CME invites ASEAN to strengthen its regional position by studying the possibility of a common currency, which, in order to be competitive, needs to be free from Central Banks influence and rather be linked with a strong cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, in the attempt to develop a new version of the gold-standard system”.
About CME: The Center for Market Education (CME) is a boutique think-tank based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As an academic and educational institution, CME aims to promote a more pluralistic and multidisciplinary approach to economics and to spread the knowledge of a sounder economics, grounded in the understanding of market forces. In order to do so, CME is not only involved in academic initiatives, but it organizes seminars, webinars and tailor-made economics classes for students, journalists, businesspeople and professionals who wish to better understand the relevance of economics for their daily lives and activities. Economics matters and needs to be presented in a fashion in which the link with reality is clearly visible. In this sense, we look not only at theoretical economics but also at policy making, with an emphasis on the unintended consequences generated by political actions.