Imports of marble and granite of the countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

To what extent is the largest free trade association in the world expected to affect global imports of marble and granite?

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a fact. On November 15, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia formed the world’s largest free trade union. These countries represent 30% of the world economy, 30% of world consumption with 2.2 billion consumers.

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It should be noted that India participated in the negotiations but withdrew last year due to concerns that lower tariffs could hurt domestic agricultural producers. However, the signatories of the agreement stated that the door remains open for India to participate in the future.

At the moment we do not know if the agreement will include marbles and granites. Nevertheless, presents the statistics of imports – exports of marble and granite of the member countries of the agreement.

In the Table below we see the total share (%) of RCEP member countries on the global value of imports in 2019 in marble and granite products.

In the Table we see that China monopolizes the import of raw marble and granite not only between RCEP member countries but worldwide.

In the process of imports of processed marble, the top five stand out with South Korea, Australia, Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia. Respectively, South Korea and Japan stand out in the processed granite.

These are very demanding markets which supply processed marble and granite almost exclusively from China. The close distances between them in combination with the huge marble-granite reserves, know-how, experience and contacts give clear advantages to the industries of China.

The deal is expected to make it even more difficult for Western suppliers, who, in an unprecedented global market situation due to COVID-19, are looking for new markets to export processed marble and granite.

With the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and the One Belt and Road Initiative, China is consolidating its position in the wider region of Asia, further strengthening its position in the global marble and granite market.