The survival or success of SMEs – New approach to China in the context of RCEP

(Article provided by TrueMind and CFAS BVBA)

When the European mainstream media were focusing on the Covid situation and New Year resolutions of all kinds, they may have missed a major event in Asia that would be of crucial importance for the survival and development of European, especially Flemish SMEs: the kick off of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, in short the RCEP, on January 1, 2022.

The RCEP is basically the most important free trade agreement among the 10 ASEAN countries plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. ASEAN has replaced the EU to become the largest trading partner of China in 2020 with a record high amount of USD70.3 billion in the first 10 months of 2021, despite the impact of Covid. This new regional free trade agreement will give a boost to the fast integrating regional economy of RCEP with 30.5% of the world's GDP.

The perspective of zero tariffs between China and Japan alone, involving 86% of exports from Japan to China and 88% in the other direction, shows the potential for opportunities that our SMEs cannot afford to miss. In this new framework of RCEP, a number of industries, such as automobile, machinery, petrochemical etc. will achieve far reaching integration with China as the main market as well as production base, expanding the influence of the 15 countries in the rest of the world.

For European, more specifically Flemish SMEs, the RCEP would create strong competitors for the European market in traditional manufacturing sectors because of the integrated and therefore efficient supply chain in Asia with China as the leading manufacturing base. To be part of the RCEP framework would offer a unique opportunity to open markets such as China, Japan and South Korea, while strengthening the competitiveness on the European market.

TrueMind and CFAS BVBA have formed a platform of independent consultants with working experience of Flemish SMEs and extensive knowledge of technology driven manufacturing sectors in China. They would like to offer their support to our Flemish SMEs to identify and take advantage of opportunities within the RCEP framework, as they have been intensifying preparation since the signing of the treaty in November 2020.

TrueMind and CFAS could provide tailor-made services in the following fields:

• Field research and identification of target markets and partners in technological and above mentioned manufacturing sectors for formulating new strategies in the RCEP framework;

• Operational consultancy of business development as extension of strategic consultancy of the Big-4 and BDO;

• Organizing specific One-2-One business contacts or business matching events.

Due to our extraordinary efforts, we have been maintaining travel to China despite the Covid situation and actively collaborating with our local partners in China.

We wish all our entrepreneurs a healthy, free and prosperous 2022!

Contact: Gao Jun, email: