Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Free Trade Agreement – Signed 15th November 2020

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a free trade agreement between the Asia-Pacific nations. of Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam

The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world’s population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of global GDP ($26.2 trillion) as of 2020, making it the biggest trade block in history.

Unifying the preexisting bilateral agreements between the 10-member ASEAN and five of its major trade partners, the RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020 at a virtual ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam, and will take effect 60 days after it has been ratified by at least six ASEAN and three non-ASEAN signatories

The trade pact, which includes a mix of high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries was conceived at the 2011 ASEAN Summit in Bali, Indonesia, while its negotiations were formally launched during the 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia It is expected to eliminate about 90% of the tariffs on imports between its signatories within 20 years of coming into force, and establish common rules for e-commerce, trade, and intellectual property. Unified rules of origin will help facilitate international supply chains and reduce export costs throughout the bloc.

The RCEP is the first free trade agreement between China, Indonesia, Japan, and South Korea, four of the five largest economies in Asia several analysts predicted that it would offer significant economic gains for signatory nations, as well as “pull the economic centre of gravity back towards Asia, with China poised to take the lead in writing trade rules for the region”, leaving the U.S. behind in economic and political affairs.

Reactions from others were neutral or negative with some analysts saying that the
economic gains from the trade deal would be modest. The RCEP has been criticized for
ignoring labor, human rights, and environmental sustainability issues


  • Australia
  • Brunei
  • Cambodia
  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Laos
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • New Zealand
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Depositary: Secretary General of ASEAN

Language: English

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