X. What measures has RCEP taken to protect intellectual property?

The intellectual property chapter of RCEP consists of 83 articles, and two annexes on arrangements for transition period and technical assistance. It is the longest and the most informative chapter in the RCEP agreement, and the most comprehensive intellectual property chapter in FTAs signed by China so far. It covers a wide range of topics such as copyright, trademark, geographical indication, patent, design, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and folklore, protection against unfair competition, intellectual property right enforcement, cooperation, transparency and technical assistance. It not only covers the traditional main topics of intellectual property, but also reflects the new trend of intellectual property protection and development. The relevant provisions on transition period and technical assistance aim to bridge the differences in development levels and capabilities among members and help relevant members better fulfill their obligations under the agreement.

Generally speaking, the intellectual property chapter of RCEP, based on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of WTO, has comprehensively improved the overall protection level of intellectual property in the region. While fully respecting the different development levels of members in the region, it provides a balanced and inclusive plan for the protection and promotion of intellectual property rights in the region, which will help promote innovation, cooperation and sustainable development.

XI. What measures has been taken by RCEP to promote the development of e-commerce?

The e-commerce chapter of RCEP represents the achievement of comprehensive plurilateral e-commerce rules at a high level in the Asia-Pacific region for the first time. This chapter covers a wealth of related contents such as promoting the use and cooperation of e-commerce, including promoting paperless trade, promoting electronic authentication and electronic signature, protecting personal information of e-commerce users, protecting rights and interests of online consumers, and strengthening regulatory cooperation on unsolicited commercial electronic messages. In addition, the parties reached important consensus on cross-border information transfer and information storage in the agreement. These will provide institutional guarantee for members to strengthen cooperation on e-commerce, help create a good environment for e-commerce development, enhance mutual trust in policies, mutual recognition of regulations and exchanges between enterprises in the field of e-commerce between members, and greatly promote the development of e-commerce in the region.

XII. What are the contents of the chapter on trade remedies of RCEP?

The chapter on trade remedies of RCEP includes "safeguard measures" and "anti-dumping and countervailing duties". In terms of safeguard measures, RCEP has established a transitional safeguard system on the basis of reaffirming relevant WTO agreements, providing remedies for the injury suffered by parties as a result of the reduction or elimination of a customs duty under the agreement. In terms of anti-dumping and countervailing investigations, the practices such as written information, consultation opportunities, public notice and explanation of determination are regulated, and the transparency and due process of trade remedy investigations are improved.

XIII. What are the major contents of RCEP on competition policy?

The chapter on competition policy of RCEP is comprehensive, making detailed provisions focusing on competition legislation, competition enforcement cooperation and consumer rights protection, and putting forward a series of specific, clear and binding requirements for law enforcement regulation. At the same time, RCEP also takes into account the different development levels among its members, providing a transition period for Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and other countries to make domestic legislation and improve their regulatory systems.

The chapter on competition policy of RCEP clarifies the principles of competition legislation and enforcement that all parties must abide by, which is conducive to promoting transparent, fair and just enforcement by all parties. At the same time, it stipulates various forms of competition enforcement cooperation, which facilitates exchange and cooperation on competition policy among parties. These regulations are of great significance for the parties to cooperate to stop monopoly harming bilateral trade and investment, create a sound trade and investment environment, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

XIV. What measures has RCEP taken on government procurement?

The chapter on government procurement of RCEP marks the first time that China has incorporated the relevant rules of government procurement into a plurilateral agreement. This chapter not only covers information exchange and cooperation, technical assistance, strengthening capacity building, etc., but also adds review clauses to leave room for the parties to further enrich and improve this chapter in the future. RCEP will promote broader exchange of information and cooperation on government procurement by the parties at a higher level, help enhance the transparency of government procurement administration systems of the parties, and lay the foundation to gradually open the regional market on government procurement.

XV. What measures has RCEP adopted to promote SME development and economic and technical

In order to promote balanced development among members in the region, RCEP has dedicated two chapters to SMEs and economic and technical cooperation, with a view to pushing countries to use the FTA platform to strengthen support for and investment in SMEs and economic and technical cooperation, so that SMEs and developing economies can better share the outcomes of RCEP.

The chapter on SMEs aims to create a broader platform for cooperation among SMEs and encourage them to take advantage of the FTA and the economic cooperation projects it creates to integrate better and faster into regional value streams and supply chains. The chapter on economic and technical cooperation provides that the parties will cooperate on technical assistance and capacity building programs to promote more inclusive and efficient implementation of the FTA, particularly to address the development needs of the least developed members, and to promote the full utilization of the FTA for the development of their economies and the narrowing of development gaps among members.

XVI. When do you expect RCEP to enter into force?

According to RCEP, at least 9 of the 15 members must ratify the agreement, including at least 6 ASEAN Member States and at least 3 of China, Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Now that the agreement has been signed, each RCEP member will proceed with its own domestic legal procedures to facilitate the early entry into force of the agreement.


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