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Advancing regional trade integration: Impact of RCEP membership expansion

Bangkok - 22 Apr 2024

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a regional trade agreement which currently encompasses Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand and ASEAN member countries. It was signed on 15 November 2020 and went into force on 1 January 2022. It is the world’s largest free trade agreement by members’ GDP. Other countries can accede to it after 1 July 2023. Areas covered by RCEP include trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement, e-commerce, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other issues.

In support of advancing regional trade cooperation and integration in the Asia and the Pacific region, ESCAP seeks to hire an economic researcher/team of economic researchers to work with ESCAP to quantitatively evaluate the impact and potential benefits of individual Asia-Pacific developing economies members of UN ESCAP that are currently NOT in RCEP joining it. It is tentatively envisaged that two studies are conducted: a separate study on goods covering tariff and non-tariff measures, and one on services and investment, ideally with empirical analysis for the latter apart from regulatory analysis.  The research methodology should be in line with those utilized by existing RCEP members during their impact assessment studies. The analysis should take into account whether a country is or not already a member of APTA and other relevant trade agreements. To the extent possible, the study should also include an impact analysis of countries joining APTA for those countries that have not yet joined it.

To apply, please email an application letter which outlines your proposed methodology/plan [1 page max], your/your teams CV, list of publications, to Alexey Kravchenko [[email protected]], subject “RCEP study expression of interest” by cob 16 May 2024. Countries to be covered should be clearly specified.

Budget for this work is not expected to exceed USD 20,000 (or USD 10,000 per study), with some flexibility depending on scope and the complexity of the proposed methodology. This may be further split among different researchers depending on the scope and depth of research proposals received. Researchers/teams of researchers working on separate studies should be in communication to make sure results are aligned. Research results would be expected to be delivered within maximum 8 months of signature of contracts, with possibility for the researchers (or their institutions) to co-author working papers (reports) with UN ESCAP staff involved, present their work at relevant intergovernmental events, and publish in peer-reviewed journals.

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