RCEP: Looking Beyond Ratification

  • Date: January 13, 2022 5:00 pm
  • Location: Webinar on Zoom
  • Language: English (with simultaneous translation into Chinese)

About this event

Accounting for nearly a third of the world’s population and almost 30 per cent of global GDP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), concluded in November 2020, drew its 15 signatories from Asia Pacific into the world’s largest trading bloc. Initially conceived by ASEAN as a means of bringing its pre-existing regional trade partners together under a comprehensive economic agreement, RCEP is expected to add US$200 billion to global GDP annually by 2030.

With the ratification of the RCEP in January 1st, 2022, this event will bring together experts from across Asia Pacific to consider the likely impact of this agreement on the region’s economy and its practical implications for businesses operating in the region. In a time when many economies still plot their recoveries from the impacts of COVID-19, RCEP represents an opportunity to leverage liberalised trade and supply chain optimization while kick-starting Asia Pacific’s ailing economies.

While questions remain about how all 15 signatories can ensure equitable influence within RCEP, the opportunities this agreement represents for businesses and Asia Pacific’s regional economy are clear. Against this backdrop, this event, produced in partnership with Asia House and supported by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, Business China, Gao Feng Advisory Company and SRW &Co., will look beyond ratification to consider how RCEP will change the economic and political landscape of Asia Pacific and how businesses can practically benefit from the agreement.

Event Video in Chinese

Event Video in English

Supporting Organizations






Founding Dean and Dean's Distinguished Chair Professor of China Business and Globalization, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB)

PhD, University of Alberta

Dr. Xiang Bing is the Founding Dean and Dean’s Distinguished Chair Professor of China Business and Globalization at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB). Under his leadership, CKGSB has evolved from a fledgling school to one of the most influential business schools in China with a global reputation since 2002.

Renowned as a foremost authority on China’s business and economy, Dr. Xiang serves as the first opening keynote speaker at the Harvard College China Forum in 2018 and 2023 and the Penn Wharton China Summit in 2023, the closing keynote speaker at the Columbia China Forum in 2024, the first closing keynote speaker at the Harvard College China Forum in 2024, and the closing keynote speaker at the SCMP China Conference on US-China Relations in New York City in 2019. Additionally, he was the First Co-Chairman for the Ditchley Foundation Annual Forum in 2018. He was also a lunch keynote speaker for the Foreign Policy Association’s Board of Trustees in 2018.

Dr. Xiang has served as an independent board member to several listed companies, including four Fortune Global 500 companies. He was a member of the Global Board of Trustees for United Way Worldwide (US) during 2011-2017.

His research interests include innovations from China, globalization of Chinese companies, China-US relations, economic disruption, social innovation, and the next-generation unicorns.

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Gita Wirjawan

Former Indonesian Trade Minister

TAO Zhigang

Professor of Strategy and Economics and Associate Dean for Europe, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB)

PhD, Princeton University

Professor of Strategy and Economics and Associate Dean for Europe, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB)

PhD, Princeton University

Areas of Expertise: Economics of Strategy and Organization, China Business and Economy, International Economics

Zhigang TAO is Professor of Strategy and Economics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. He taught at University of Hong Kong from 1998 to 2021, and at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology from 1992 to 1998. Professor Tao received his B.Sc. in management science from Fudan University in 1986, and PhD in economics from Princeton University in 1992. He has published in various economics and management journals, and his work has been widely cited.

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Jeremy Browne

Former Minister of State for Asia Pacific, UK (Moderator)

Jeremy Browne was the British Minister of State for Pacific Asia, 2010-12. His portfolio in the Foreign Office also included responsibly for Latin America and overall relations with emerging powers. He also served as a Minister of State in the Home Office and spent ten years as a Member of the British Parliament (2005-15). Since then he has worked as an International Business Ambassador for Aberdeen Standard Investments and served as the City of London’s Special Representative to the EU, where he dealt with the impact of Brexit on UK-EU financial services. He currently works as a Senior Adviser to renewable energy investment firm Renewity.

Anna Robeniol

Advisor to the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Economic Community

Ms Anna Maria Rosario Diaz Robeniol is the Director of the Market Integration Directorate under the ASEAN Economic Community Department of the ASEAN Secretariat. She was the Head of the External Economic Relations Division of the ASEAN Secretariat from 2018 – August 2020. Before re-joining the ASEAN Secretariat in 2018, Anna was the Assistant Secretary for Trade Policy and Negotiations at the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippines (2016-2018). During her tenure as Assistant Secretary, Anna was the Philippines’ chief negotiator for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other trade negotiations involving the Philippines. She was the country’s Senior Economic Officials Meeting (SEOM) lead and chaired the said meeting during the Philippines’ chairmanship of ASEAN in 2017. She also co-Chaired the Joint Committee for the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. Prior to that, Anna spent more than twelve years at the ASEAN Secretariat, during which she facilitated the completion of negotiations and signing of all the ASEAN Free Trade and Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements. She also worked on RCEP until the launch of negotiations in 2012. Anna represented the ASEAN Secretariat in various regional and international forums and led the ASEAN Secretariat team in supporting the implementation of ASEAN FTAs.

Tetsuya Watanabe

Vice-President, Research Institute of Economy Trade, and Industry

Tetsuya Watanabe is Vice President at the Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) and Visiting Professor at Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo. In his capacity at RIETI, he hosts the RIETI Global Intelligence Series where he discusses and analyses, with experts from the US, the EU and Asia, the geopolitical tensions, global trade governance, climate change challenges, digital transformation and regional integration in Asia. He joined RIETI in 2020 after over three decades of a career as a trade policy maker and negotiator in the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), where he served as Director General for the Trade Policy. During his career at METI he worked on a wide range of bilateral, regional and multilateral trade negotiations and initiatives, including the WTO Joint Statement Initiatives on E-Commerce, the Trilateral Trade Ministers Meetings, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Japan-US Trade Agreement and the Japan-UK Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. He also served as the Chief Counsellor at the Government Headquarter for the Trans Pacific Partnership at the Cabinet Secretariat.

Andrew Sheng

Former Central Banker, HKMA & Bank Negara Malaysia

Andrew Sheng is a distinguished fellow at Asia Global Institute, University of Hong Kong, chief adviser to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, and a former board member of Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia. He also served as an adviser to the UN Environment Program Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System. Mr. Sheng also serves as a member of the International Advisory Council of the China Investment Corporation, the China Development Bank, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and Honorary Member of the Trustees of Bank Indonesia Institute. Previously, he served as chairman of the Securities & Futures Commission of Hong Kong and as a central banker at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and at Bank Negara Malaysia. Mr. Sheng has also worked at the World Bank. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Malaya and at the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management. Mr. Sheng is the author of From Asian to Global Financial Crisis: An Asian Regulator’s View of Unfettered Finance in the 1990s and 2000s.

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