Editorial : Participate in the Economic Integration of East Asia

【明報專訊】While globalisation has run into a headwind in the West, East Asia and Oceania have taken an important step towards regional economic integration. 15 countries, which comprise the 10 ASEAN nations and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, have recently signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), marking the formal conclusion of the world's largest free trade agreement. Multilateral free trade co-operation is an irreversible trend even though the US has turned its back on it, and China's integration into the global market and the deepening of its openness will not be halted because of Washington's diplomatic containment. The RCEP, which includes the major countries of East Asia and Oceania, represents non-Western economic globalisation and will accelerate the formation of an East Asian economic sphere. As an important logistic and financial centre in the region, Hong Kong should actively seek to join the RCEP and seize the opportunities of East Asia's economic integration.