In the wake of the outbreak of coronavirus, there was a global consensus that moving manufacturing capacities and operations out of China was the preferred strategy.
Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations seem to have undermined this, as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership signed at the weekend will help China become dominant in its already strong areas of supply (Report, November 16). The RCEP shows China can’t be isolated and its status as the “world’s factory” cannot be diluted.
Japan and Australia’s signing of RCEP also has implications regarding Indo-Pacific trade relations and the Quad, or quadrilateral, group, which includes the trade spokesmen of the US, Japan, Canada and the EU.
It is ironic that when countries feel threatened and try to counter Beijing’s expansionism through maritime security pacts, they end up establishing or strengthening economic ties with China.
New Delhi, India