ASEAN-Japan Center (AJC) completed a paper on "Asean global value chain and its relationship with RCEP: Impacts of RCEP on Asean integration" in March 2022. The paper examined and compared global value chain (GVC) patterns of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states with the members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to identify RCEP-related opportunities and costs to Asean.

The study reveals that the role of Asean in RCEP GVCs was smaller than that of Asean GVCs and that Asean connectivity, through production, was also smaller, partly because RCEP was less integrated than Asean. While Asean produced many products, these did not necessarily become inputs in exports of non-Asean RCEP members' exports.

On a per-industry basis, the study showed that while the automotive and electronic GVCs were strong in Asean, they were much stronger in RCEP because of the participation of China, Japan and South Korea. Therefore, there were opportunities for Asean GVCs in these industries to expand into non-Asean RCEP member states.

According to the study, Asean member states were mainly producers of apparel that were final-product exporters rather than intermediate producers — for example, of textiles — and were not much integrated into the next stage of production. Asean countries could benefit from the RCEP agreement by expanding their imports of textiles from China.

Asean agribusiness and tourism were typically regional or domestic market-oriented industries that could penetrate both Asean and RCEP markets.

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The direct impact of RCEP on trade and investment, as measured by increases in value, was estimated at $42 billion in exports and $900 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the current value. These numbers corresponded to 1.8 percent and 0.3 percent of current exports and FDI flows.

"Asean global value chain and its relationship with RCEP: Impacts of RCEP on Asean integration" has been available for download on AJC's website

URL: 2022.pdf