It took 8 years, 46 negotiating meetings, and 19 ministerial meetings to get the agreement done, but finally, on the 15 th of November, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by 15 Asian nations.
RCEP includes all 10 members of Asean, along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. This marks the second major multilateral trade deal in recent years. After Donald Trump pulled the US out of the TransPacific Partnership in 2017, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, or TPP minus the US) was agreed upon in 2018. 7 of the 15 RCEP members belong to the CPTPP.
Accounting for nearly a third of the world's population and GDP, and comprising of USD12.4 trillion in trade, the 15-country RCEP is easily the world's largest trade agreement. The agreement includes 20 chapters of rules covering trade in goods, investment and ecommerce, intellectual property, and government procurement. The goal is to increase rules-based economic interaction among the members.
Chief Economist at DBS Bank
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