Before the signing of the agreement, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan led a delegation to the Indian Prime Minister to protest against the free trade agreement. The state of Kerala is an important exporter in the domestic export of plantation products. It fears that cheap imports of rubber, coffee and fish will reduce domestic production and have a negative impact on farmers and, ultimately, their economy.  Kerala has already experienced a flood of its market of cheap imports under the 2006 South Asia Free Trade Agreement. Since then, Sri Lanka`s cheap coconuts and Malaysian palm oil have hampered Kerala coconut cultivation.  A trade agreement signed between more than two parties (usually in the neighbouring region or in the same region) is considered multilateral. These face the main obstacles – in the negotiation of the substance and in the implementation. The more countries involved, the more difficult it is to achieve mutual satisfaction. Once this type of trade agreement is concluded, it will become a very powerful agreement. The larger the GDP of the signatories, the greater the impact on other global trade relations. The most important multilateral trade agreement is the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.  An article published by Vietnam News reflected some of the challenges and opportunities Vietnam faces in preparing for the ACS.
The article states that the deputy director of  of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Tran Thanh Hai, is concerned about the lack of knowledge of the AEC by local companies. ADB`s top economist, Jayant Menon, said Cambodia must accelerate its customs reform and speed up process automation in order to reduce trade costs and minimize opportunities for corruption and be ready to implement its unique national project by 2015.  Unlike a customs union, parties to a free trade area do not have common external tariffs, which means that they apply different tariffs and other policies towards non-members. This feature allows non-parties, within the framework of a free trade area, to benefit from preferences for pests by entering the market with the lowest external customs duties. Such a risk requires the introduction of rules for determining which originating products qualify for preferences under a free trade area, a need which does not arise when a customs union is formed.  In principle, a minimum volume of processing is required, resulting in a “substantial transformation” of the goods so that they can be considered originating. In defining the products that originate in the PEF, the preferential rules of origin distinguish between originating and non-originating products: only the former are entitled to preferential duties covered by the free trade area, the latter must pay most-favoured-nation duties.  RCEP is the first free trade agreement between China, Japan and South Korea, three of Asia`s four largest economies. At the time of signing, analysts predicted that it would help stimulate the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, “bring back the economic center of gravity in Asia,” and accentuate the U.S. economic and political decline. .