On 1 January 2022, co-hosted by the Department of Commerce of Shandong Province and Qingdao Municipal Government, the Commencement of RCEP & Opening Ceremony of the Sea Route from Qingdao (China) to Tokyo-Yokohama Metropolitan Area in Kanto Region (Japan) was held in Qingdao, Shandong Province.
The ceremony was presided over by Mr. Zhang Deping, Director-General of the Department of Commerce of Shandong Province. Mr. Lu Zhiyuan, Secretary of the CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee, attended the ceremony. Mr. Ji Binchang, Vice Governor of Shandong Province, Mr. Chen Dehai, Secretary-General of the ASEAN-China Centre (ACC), Ms. Nabhasporn Bhuttarichval, Consul-General of Thailand to Qingdao, and Mr. Xue Qingguo, Deputy Mayor of Qingdao, attended and addressed the event. Mrs. Khamphao Ernthavanh, Ambassador of the Lao PDR to China, Ms. Wei Bo, Deputy Commissioner of the Special Commissioner Office of Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) in Qingdao, and Mr. Zhang Shaogang, Vice Chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), delivered video speeches. About 100 representatives from trade institutions and consulates general of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) member states in Qingdao were present at the offline event and nearly 1000 people took part in the online activity.
Vice Governor Ji Binchang said that the world’s most populous free trade area with the largest population, greatest trade volume and development potential has been officially established since RCEP entered into force. RCEP brings great historic opportunities to Qingdao and Shandong Province. Shandong will fully implement relevant laws and regulations, and continue to improve trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation to create an atmosphere for mutual benefit and win-win results and provide guarantees for the deep integration of inter-regional industrial and supply chains.
Secretary-General Chen Dehai said the Department of Commerce of Shandong Province and the Qingdao Municipal Government chose the effective date of RCEP as the day to hold the Opening Ceremony of the Sea Route from Qingdao to Tokyo-Yokohama Metropolitan Area in Kanto Region. This fact demonstrates the firm resolve of Shandong and Qingdao to seize historic opportunities for deepening the practical cooperation with RCEP member states and to actively participate in the new dynamic of open regional economic integration. ACC will continue to play its bridging role and make contributions to deepening cooperation between Shandong Province, Qingdao city and RCEP member states in various fields and promoting ASEAN-China relations, regional prosperity and development.
Mrs. Khamphao Ernthavanh, along with other representatives of ASEAN Member States (AMS), said the first day of 2022 is of great importance to the world economy and trade. Since RCEP comes into effect, at least over 30,000 types of goods can be exported with zero-tariff and perishable goods are allowed to pass the customs within a short duration, making easier access to imports and exports among RCEP member states. On 9 December 2021, the first train of Laos-China Railway departed from Shandong. Shandong will become a vital transport link connecting Southeast Asian countries including the Lao PDR and Thailand with other RCEP member states. She expressed hope that newly operated sea route from Qingdao to Japan will extend to AMS for land-sea connectivity.
Mr. Lu Zhiyuan, Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee and Secretary of the CPC Qingdao Municipal Committee announced that the first regular liner carrying cargo with RCEP tariff preferences from Qingdao (China) to Kanto Region (Japan) has officially set sail.
The event also witnessed the issuance of the first RCEP Certificate of Origin, the ratification of the first RCEP refund application, the Signing Ceremony of China-Japan High-end Logistic and Maritime Mail Routes Cooperation and the release of the commemorative stamps of the Commencement of RCEP in Qingdao & Opening Ceremony of the Sea Route from Qingdao to Tokyo-Yokohama Metropolitan Area in Kanto Region.
After the ceremony, Secretary-General Chen Dehai visited the Qingdao Pilot Zone for RCEP Economic and Trade Cooperation and RCEP Shandong Enterprise Service Centre.