New Refinitiv Belt & Road Infrastructure 2021 Report

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Impact of RCEP & CPTPP Free Trade Agreements Upon The BRI

Refinitiv has just released their new report into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, titled “Infrastructure 360 – Progressing Through The Pandemic”. Dezan Shira & Associates assisted with some of the commentary and opinion. The report includes analysis of how the RCEP and CPTPP free trade agreements will impact upon the BRI, with our comments as follows:

“The RCEP agreement is different to the similar CPTPP deal in that certain aspects of it impose lower standards than CPTPP, which makes it easier for the smaller players to apply. It therefore encourages smaller nations to step up, then make another future step forward to come into CPTPP compliance. Some of the tariff reductions however are to be phased out over a long period of time, and especially those that have religious sensitivities such as alcohols, tobacco, and similar products, with duties not due to be abolished for up to eleven years. Therefore, businesses need to examine the specific product categories involved as pertinent to their own industry sector to establish where opportunities are. It is not a blanket ‘one size fits all’ agreement and attention to detail needs to be paid to fit specific scenarios.  Overall, economists at Brookings and John Hopkins have stated the RCEP deal has enough legs in it to gradually increase the global economy by about US$285 billion annually by 2030.” 

“The BRI is essentially an informal gathering of nations, not a legal entity in its own right. Any RCEP tariff benefits are between the RCEP members and not the BRI. Where these overlap, the RCEP agreement and other related bilateral agreements such as Investment Treaties (services) and Free Trade (goods) are the applicable documents to refer to.  This can and will influence BRI projects, but in conjunction with developments in China’s new Foreign Investment Law, Dual Circulation Policy and newly announced Negative List.” 

Interested parties may download the Refinitiv “Infrastructure 360 – Progressing Through The Pandemic” on a complimentary basis from this link here on their website. Registration is required.

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Silk Road Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Asia, and assists foreign investors into the region. For strategic advisory and business intelligence issues please contact the firm at or visit