The RCEP: where are we at with the Asia-Pacific mega trade deal?

Asia Prospects Snapshot n. 7

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is regarded as the biggest free trade agreement (FTA) ever signed. This mega deal involves fifteen countries of the Asia-Pacific region: the ASEAN group – from where the pact officially originated – plus Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea and Japan. The treaty is expected to bring substantial advantages for ‘Factory Asia’, particularly for complex global value chains (GVCs) – that is to say, for those goods and activities having more than one national border crossing in their production processes. As shown below, seven of the signatories are also part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), another mega Asia-Pacific free trade treaty in place since 2018, and one that could soon be joined by the UK.

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