The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat has announced that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the world’s largest trade deal so far, will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2022.
The secretariat, which made the announcement, said it has received instruments of ratification from six ASEAN countries, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as from four non-ASEAN signatory states of Australia, China, Japan, and New Zealand.
“The expeditious ratification process by signatory States is a true reflection of our strong commitment to a fair and open multilateral trading system for the benefit of the people in the region and the world,” Secretary-General of ASEAN Dato Lim Jock Hoi said.
The implementation of the agreement will provide a tremendous boost to post-COVID-19 economic recovery efforts, the secretary-general emphasized.
Signed in November last year, the RCEP is a mega trade deal between 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Ratifications from at least six ASEAN countries and three of the other five non-ASEAN countries are needed for the trade deal to take effect.
Once in effect, the deal will eliminate tariffs on as much as 90 percent of goods traded between its signatories over the next 20 years.