Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
After 8 years of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed on November 15, 2020. The RCEP is a free trade agreement (FTA) with 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states—Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam—and the five states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs—Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Each of the member countries now will need to have the agreement approved or ratified by their parliamentary or legislative bodies.
India originally was included as a sixth ASEAN FTA state; however, the country decided to pull out of the RCEP agreement in November 2019. Now that India has removed itself from the RCEP, the agreement still includes more than 2.1 billion people. RCEP negotiations were launched in November 2012 and concluded in 2018; however, the deadline for signing the RCEP agreement was then pushed back several times, first expecting it to be signed by February 2020, then finally being signed in November.
The RCEP would be expected to grow to more than $100 trillion by 2050, double the projected size of Trans Pacific Partnership-11 (TPP-11) economies. It would be the biggest free trade agreement in the world, but without the United States or any membership from the Americas.
RCEP: Asia-Pacific Countries Form World’s Largest Trading Bloc
BBC, November 16, 2020
RCEP: No Need to Panic, But it Will Encourage New Policy Approaches to Trade
National Association of District Export Councils, November 15, 2020
Asia-Pacific Countries Push to Sign China-Backed Trade Megadeal
The Wall Street Journal, November 13, 2020
China and 14 Asian Nations to Sign World’s Biggest Free-Trade Deal
American Journal of Transportation, November 12, 2020
World’s Biggest Free-Trade Deal Set to Be Signed This Weekend
Bloomberg, November 11, 2020
S. Korea to Push for Conclusion of Asia-Pacific Trade Deal this Year
The Korea Herald, July 8, 2020