The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement promoting
economic integration among the fifteen East Asian and Pacific nations of Australia, Brunei
Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, the Lao People’s
Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and
Viet Nam. RCEP was signed on November 15 2020 and should enter into force 60 days after six
ASEAN1 member states and three non-ASEAN member states have ratified the Agreement.
The impact of RCEP on international trade is expected to be significant. RCEP members account
for about 30 per cent of global GDP. Trade in goods among RCEP members was close to
US$ 2.5 trillion in 2019, or about 13 per cent of global trade. RCEP should be instrumental to
advance trade relationships between the economies whose bilateral trade relationships were not
previously regulated by any trade agreement. The RCEP agreement aims to further advance
regional trade by providing members with better market access conditions largely by reducing tariffs
and implementing trade facilitation measures, therefore bringing RCEP countries a step closer to
becoming a regional trading bloc.
To read the full report by the UNCTAD, please click here.