RCEP trade pact seen boosting Japan’s GDP by 2.7%

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past at a shopping district, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Tokyo, Japan August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

March 19, 2021

TOKYO (Reuters) – A trade deal among fifteen economies in the Asia Pacific would boost Japan’s economy by 2.7% when its benefits fully appear, a government estimate showed on Friday.

Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement in November last year, covering nearly a third of the global population and about 30% of its global gross domestic product.

The trade deal would lift Japan’s gross domestic product (GDP) 2.7%, which would be worth about 15 trillion yen ($137.82 billion) based on the nation’s economy in fiscal 2019. It would have the value of creating an additional 570,000 jobs, according to the estimate.

In 2017, the government estimated that a free trade deal with the European Union would boost Japan’s GDP by 1% and the 11-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership would lift it by about 1.5%.

RCEP includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The trade pact focuses heavily on cutting tariffs and increasing market access but is seen as less comprehensive than the TPP-11.

($1 = 108.8400 yen)

(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)