Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a regional free trade agreement that will complement and build upon Australia’s existing free trade agreements with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries.

RCEP entered into force on 1 January 2022, for ten countries, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, with Australia as an original party. For the Republic of Korea, RCEP will enter into force on 1 February 2022.

It is a modern and comprehensive free trade agreement covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, and creates new rules for electronic commerce, intellectual property, government procurement, competition, and small and medium sized enterprises.

RCEP negotiations were launched in November 2012 between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN includes Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and ASEAN’s free trade agreement partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea).

On 15 November 2020, Ministers from 15 countries signed the Agreement.

India indicated in November 2019 that there were several issues preventing it from joining RCEP and has since confirmed it is not in a position to sign the Agreement: Joint Leaders’ Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Even without India, RCEP will still be the world’s largest free trade agreement.

On 15 November 2020, Leaders endorsed the Ministerial Declaration on India’s participation in RCEP.

For more information on the agreed RCEP outcomes, refer to FTA outcome documents.

For more information about the RCEP Agreement, refer to the Overview RCEP [DOCX 680 KB] | [PDF 190 KB].

Source: Australian Government | Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

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