A cargo ship loaded with Malaysian manganese ore arrived at Beibu Gulf Port in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The ore was sent to the smelting workshop of South Manganese Group Ltd., which has the longest manganese industry chain in the world. There, it was made into electrolytic manganese dioxide before being sold domestically and exported to Japan as a raw material within new-energy batteries.
This particular case of cross-border trade, industry and sale illustrates the power of the recently instituted Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement in bringing economic benefit to China and its regional partners. The RCEP has helped reduce the tariff on manganese ore in Malaysia from 3 percent to 2.4 percent, making the industrial chain connecting China, ASEAN and Japan more competitive in the international market, and promoting the development of the regional economy. The RCEP agreement, the world’s largest free trade deal to date, came into force on the first day of 2022. Since then, it has brought tangible dividends to economic and trade cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.