JAKARTA, Jan 1 — The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement enters into force today for 10 participating countries, paving the way for the creation of the world’s largest free trade area.
The countries are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, according to the Asean Secretariat.
“The RCEP agreement will also enter into force on Feb 1, 2022 for South Korea,” the secretariat said in a statement. “As for the remaining signatory states, the agreement will enter into force 60 days after the deposit of their respective instrument of ratification, acceptance, or approval to the secretary-general of Asean as the depositary of the agreement.”
Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Philippines are the other signatories yet to ratify.
The mega trade deal accounts for US$12.7 trillion, over a quarter of global trade in goods and services, and 31 per cent of global foreign direct investment inflows.
The Asean Secretariat said it remains committed to supporting the RCEP process in ensuring its effective and efficient implementation that ultimately contributes to global post-pandemic recovery efforts.
In fact, the entry into force of the agreement is a manifestation of the region’s resolve to keep markets open, strengthen economic integration and support a free, fair, and rules-based multilateral trading system, it added.
The agreement provides new market access commitments and streamlined, modern rules and disciplines that facilitate trade and investment, the secretariat said.
It also promises to deliver business and employment opportunities, strengthen supply chains and promote micro, small, and medium enterprises’ participation in value chains and production hubs.
The 15 RCEP participating countries have an estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of US$25.8 trillion, accounting for about 30 per cent of world GDP. — Bernama