Fifteen nations in the Asia-Pacific region have concluded the world`s largest free trade agreement, which they hope will accelerate the recovery of their economies devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. From August 2019, the updated protocol will make changes to the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA) by simplifying rules of origin, customs procedures, trade facilitation measures and investment rules. This ACFTA will create an economic region of 1.7 billion consumers, a regional gross domestic product (GDP) of about $2 trillion and an estimated total trade of $1.23 trillion. It is therefore the largest free trade agreement in the world relative to the size of the population. “Ratification is likely to be difficult in national parliaments, both because of anti-commercial and anti-Chinese sentiment,” he added. “It is essential that partners like China, when they enter into new agreements like this, not only provide the details of such agreements, but act faithfully to their minds,” Birmingham told The Age newspaper. In addition, a new section on customs procedures and trade facilitation has been added, which specifies operational certification procedures for the application and obtaining of preferential tariffs. The “Form E” established by the protocol verifies the admissibility of products exported for preferential processing. Last year, the total volume of trade between China and ASEAN countries reached a record $587.87 billion, 14.1% higher than the United States for the first time since 1997.

For ASEAN, 2018 was also the ninth consecutive year in which China was ASEAN`s largest trading partner, in part because of China`s geographical proximity and the multilateral trade partnership that began in 2004. The new free trade bloc will be larger than the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada and the European Union. This ACFTA for goods would soon be complemented by services and investments, with aggressive monitoring of negotiations on these relevant areas in 2005. Changes to the free trade area framework mainly concerned Vietnam. These amendments were intended to help Vietnam reduce tariffs and were cited as guidelines. [14] However, rules are in place for trade, which will facilitate investment and other businesses in the area, said Jeffrey Wilson, research director at the Perth USAsia Center. China first proposed the idea of a free trade area in November 2000. The leaders of ASEAN and China therefore decided to discuss economic integration measures in the region the following year[1][2] In Brunei, they supported the creation of an ASEAN-China free trade area. [3] Ten ASEAN countries and five other Asia-Pacific countries have signed the world`s largest trade agreement in terms of GDP. The pact is expected to boost economic growth in a region hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.