Regarding the signing of the RCEP agreement following eight years of negotiations as a major achievement, he said: “These comprehensive free trade agreements have negative and positive aspects. The abolition of tariffs gives the countries of the agreement the free movement of trade products. The heads of state and government of China and the ASEAN member (AMS) signed the framework agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation between China and ASEAN at the sixth China-ASEAN summit in November 2002. In November 2004, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and AMS leaders witnessed the signing of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, which came into force in July 2005. In January 2007, both sides signed the Trade in Services Agreement, which came into force in July of the same year. In August 2009, both parties signed the investment agreement. The creation of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area strengthens close economic and trade ties between the two sides and also contributes to the economic development of Asia and the world as a whole. The ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) is a free trade area between the ten member states of the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the People`s Republic of China. The framework agreement was signed by eleven heads of government on 4 November 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. : Hassanal Bolkiah (Sultan of Brunei Darussalam), Hun Sen (Prime Minister of Cambodia), Megawati Soekarnoputri (President of Indonesia), Bounnhang Vorachith (Prime Minister of Laos), Mahathir bin Mohamad (Prime Minister Minister of Malaysia), Than Sh (Prime Minister of Burma), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (President of the Philippines), Goh Chok Tong (Prime Minister of Singapore), Thaksin Shinawatra (Prime Minister of Thailand), Phan Ven Khi (Prime Minister of Vietnam) , Zhu Rongji (Prime Minister of the State Council of the People`s Republic of China).   Professor Ahmad Azam Abdul Rahman, a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation`s (IPHRC) Independent Standing Commission on Human Rights (IPHRC), said: “This agreement, reached after lengthy negotiations, covers 2.1 billion people and 30% of the world`s gross domestic product (GDP). There is no doubt that this agreement will improve economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region and open new doors to different types of cooperation. The WIG agreement, signed on 29 November 2004, is one of the enabling agreements under the framework agreement. It has set the terms and conditions for reducing and eliminating tariffs for tariff lines either on the normal route or on sensitive rail.
The free trade agreement reduced tariffs to 7,881 product categories, or 90% of imported products at zero.  This reduction came into effect in China and in the original six ASEAN members: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The other four countries are expected to follow in 2015.  On 1 January 2010, the average tariff rate on Chinese products sold in ASEAN countries increased from 12.8% to 0.6% until the remaining ASEAN members implemented the free trade area. Meanwhile, the average tariff rate on ASEAN products sold in China increased from 9.8% to 0.1%.  Up to 2015, ASEAN`s total merchandise trade with China reached $346.5 billion (15.2% of ASEAN trade), and ACFTA accelerated growth in Chinese direct investment and trade cooperation.  Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, a professor of political science at Sains University in Malaysia, said the RCEP agreement was the result of the gradual decline in U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific region.