Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
Type Trade agreement
Effective Not in force

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six Asia-Pacific states with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).

RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.[1] The free trade agreement is scheduled and expected to be signed in November 2018 during the ASEAN Summit and Related Summit in Singapore, after the first RCEP summit was held on 14 November 2017 in Manila, Philippines.[2] RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement which includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.[3]

In 2017, prospective RCEP member states accounted for a population of 3.4 billion people with a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP, PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 39 percent of the world's GDP,[4] with the combined GDPs of China and Japan making up more than half that amount.

RCEP is the world's largest economic bloc, covering nearly half of the global economy.[5] According to estimates by PwC, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP, PPP) of RCEP member states is likely to amount to nearly $250 trillion by 2050, or a quarter of a quadrillion dollars, with the combined GDPs of China and India making up more than 75% of the amount. RCEP's share of the global economy could account for half of the estimated $0.5 quadrillion global GDP (PPP) by 2050.


The arrangement is also open to any other external economic partners, such as nations in Central Asia and remaining nations in South Asia and Oceania.[6]

The RCEP 16 countries


Basic indicators of the RCEP 16 countries

PopulationNominal GDP
(millions of US$)
GDP per cap.
(Nominal, US$)
(millions of Int$)
GDP per cap.
(PPP, Int$)
Official languagesLeaders
Commonwealth of Australia
Canberra7,692,02424,419,9001,482,28255,2151,296,07550,8170.939Australian dollar ($)
National and de facto: English
Monarch: Elizabeth II
Governor-General: Peter Cosgrove
Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull
Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace
Negara Brunei Darussalam
Bandar Seri Begawan5,765417,20011,99128,74033,75676,5670.865Brunei dollar ($)
MalayMonarch: Hassanal Bolkiah
Kingdom of Cambodia
Preăh Réachéanachâk Kâmpŭchéa
Phnom Penh181,03515,626,44424,3071,30869,8844,0220.563Cambodian riel ()
KhmerMonarch: Norodom Sihamoni
Prime Minister: Hun Sen
People's Republic of China
Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó
Beijing9,596,9611,382,580,00013,118,6899,48925,102,91618,1580.738Renminbi (Chinese yuan, ¥)
Standard Chinese
written in simplified characters
see also: Languages of China
Premier: Li Keqiang
President: Xi Jinping
Republic of India
Bhārat Gaṇarājya
New Delhi3,287,2631,314,470,0002,654,1651,85010,339,5527,1530.624Indian rupee ()

21 other official languages
see also: Languages of India

President: Ram Nath Kovind
Prime Minister: Narendra Modi
Republic of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia
Jakarta1,910,931263,510,0001,092,1383,8953,481,10712,4320.689Indonesian rupiah (Rp)
see also: Languages of Indonesia
President: Joko Widodo
Tokyo377,930126,760,0005,063,12938,2815,545,88442,8600.903Japanese yen (¥)
JapaneseMonarch: Akihito
Prime Minister: Shinzō Abe
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao
Vientiane236,8006,492,40018,6742,05153,6266,1150.586Lao kip ()
LaoPrime Minister: Thongloun Sisoulith
President: Bounnhang Vorachith
MalaysiaKuala Lumpur
Putrajaya (administrative)
330,80332,019,500340,9239,623988,99328,6360.789Malaysian ringgit (RM)
see also: Languages of Malaysia
Monarch: Muhammad V
Prime Minister: Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad
Myanmar (Burma)
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Pyidaunzu Thanmăda Myăma Nainngandaw
Naypyidaw676,57854,836,00074,0021,374362,9696,3600.556Burmese kyat (K)
see also: Languages of Myanmar
President: Htin Kyaw
State Counsellor: Aung San Suu Kyi
New Zealand
Wellington270,4674,786,710215,17241,107195,10338,7060.915New Zealand dollar ($)
Monarch: Elizabeth II
Governor-General: Patsy Reddy
Prime Minister: Bill English
Republic of the Philippines
Republika ng Pilipinas
Manila300,000103,874,000357,7923,102951,2248,2700.682Philippine peso ()
Filipino (Tagalog)
President: Rodrigo Duterte
Republic of Singapore
Republik Singapura
Xīnjiāpō Gònghéguó
Ciṅkappūr Kuṭiyaracu
7195,607,300316,87251,431537,44790,7240.925Singapore dollar ($)
see also: Languages of Singapore
President: Halimah Yacob
Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong
South Korea
Republic of Korea
Daehan Minguk
Seoul100,21051,446,2011,597,39229,1142,127,16439,4460.901South Korean won ()
KoreanPrime Minister: Lee Nak-yeon
President: Moon Jae-in
Kingdom of Thailand
Ratcha-anachak Thai
Bangkok513,12068,298,000466,6236,2651,296,09517,7490.740Thai baht (฿)
ThaiMonarch: Vajiralongkorn
Prime Minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha
Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Cộng hòa Xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam
Hanoi331,21292,700,000234,6882,305697,7526,9250.683Vietnamese đồng ()
VietnamesePrime Minister: Nguyễn Xuân Phúc
President: Trần Đại Quang

Presence in the world

RCEP potentially includes more than 3 billion people or 45% of the world's population, and a combined GDP of about $21.3 trillion, accounting for about 40 percent of world trade.[8] The combined GDP of potential RCEP members surpassed the combined GDP of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members in 2007. Continued growth, particularly in China, India and Indonesia could see total GDP in RCEP grow to over $100 trillion by 2050, roughly double the project size of TPP economies.[9]

On January 23, 2017, United States President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that stated withdrawal of the country from the TPP, a move which is seen to improve the chances of success for RCEP.[10]

History and timeline

  • During the 19th ASEAN Summit held 14–19 November 2011, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was introduced.[11]
  • The 44th ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings were held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 25 August - 1 September 2012.[12]
  • Leaders at the 21st ASEAN Summit held 18–20 November 2012 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia endorsed the framework of RCEP and announced the launch of their negotiations.[13]
  • Round 1: 9–13 May 2013 in Brunei[7]
  • The second round of RCEP negotiations were held 23–27 September 2013 in Brisbane, Australia.[14]
  • The third round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations were held 20–24 January 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[15]
  • The 4th round of RCEP negotiations took place in Nanning, China 31 March – 4 April 2014.[16]
  • The 5th RCEP negotiation round was held on 21–27 June 2014 in Singapore.[17]
  • The 6th round of RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee(TNC) and related meetings took place 1–5 December 2014 in New Delhi, India.[18] The Indians held an outreach event with their business community to educate them on the goals of RCEP. The Japanese asked to set up a workshop on e-Commerce.
  • The 7th round of RCEP meetings took place in Bangkok, Thailand 9–13 February 2015. An expert group on electronic commerce met during this round. The Asian Trade Centre (based in Singapore) submitted a proposal regarding an e-Commerce chapter and gave a presentation on the paper.
  • The 8th round of the RCEP talks took place in Kyoto, Japan 5–13 June.
  • The 9th round of the RCEP talks took place in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar 3–7 August 2015.
  • The 10th round of the RCEP talks took place in Busan, South Korea in 12–16 October 2015. The meetings took place at BEXCO (Busan's Convention and Exhibition Centre). This round included the first region wide stakeholder meeting (organized by the Singapore-based Asian Trade Centre) which involved an informal meeting between government officials and business representatives over lunch followed by an afternoon seminar focused on what RCEP can do to help business operate in the e-Commerce space.
  • On February 14–19, the 11th round of negotiations of the RCEP was held in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei.[19]
  • On April 17–29, the 12th round of negotiation of RCEP was held in Perth, Australia. [20]
  • Round 13: June 2016 in New Zealand
  • The 14th round of RCEP negotiation was held on August 15–18 in Vietnam.
  • The 15th round of RCEP negotiation was held on October 11–22 in Tianjin, China.[21]
  • The 16th round of negotiations of RCEP was held on December 6–10 in Tangerang, Indonesia.
  • The 17th round of negotiations of RCEP was held in Kobe, from February 27 to March 3 in Kobe, Japan.
  • The 18th round of RCEP negotiation was held on May 8–12 in Manila, Philippines.[22]
  • The 19th round of RCEP negotiation was held on July 24–28 in Hyderabad, India.[23]
  • Round 20: September 2017 in Philippines
  • Round 21: The first RCEP summit was held on Nov 14 in Manila, Philippines.[5][24]
  • Round 22: March 2018 in Singapore

Controversies and criticism

RCEP has been criticized by free culture activists for containing "quite simply the worst provisions on copyright [...] ever seen in a trade agreement."[25] Global health care activists have criticized the agreement for potentially forcing India to end its cheap supply of generic medications to poor countries.[26]

See also


  1. "RCEP: Challenges and Opportunities for India, 25 July 2013, RSIS, Singapore" (PDF).
  2. "RCEP likely to be signed in November 2018: PM".
  3. Tang, See Kit (14 October 2015). "RCEP: The next trade deal you need to know about".
  4. Stefani Ribka/Linda Yulisman (December 7, 2016). "RCEP talks speed up amid TPP failure".
  5. 1 2 "Najib: RCEP likely to be signed in Nov 2018". 15 November 2017.
  6. What is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)? Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore November 2012
  7. 1 2 {{cite web|url= Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Joint Statement The First Meeting of Trade Negotiating Committee|darte=10 May 2013|archiveurl= 19, 2015
  8. Diplomat, Rohit Sinha and Geethanjali Nataraj, The. "Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): Issues and Way Forward".
  9. 1 2 "Understanding and applying long-term GDP projections | EABER". Retrieved 2016-06-17.
  10. Reichert, Corinne. "Trump dumping Trans-Pacific Partnership - ZDNet".
  11. Nineteenth ASEAN Summit, Bali, Indonesia | 14-19 November 2011 Archived 29 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. "ASEAN plus 6 agree to start RCEP talks CCTV News - CNTV English".
  13. Announcement of the Launch of Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Japan 20 November 2012 Archived 14 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. Australia hosts second round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations in Brisbane Archived 3 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. Media Release : 3rd Meeting of the RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee 20-24 January 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 27 Jan 2014 08:40 AM | The Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Malaysia Archived 22 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  16. "Fourth Round of Negotiations for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)". Joint press release of Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2014-04-04.
  17. "5th negotiation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)". Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 30 June 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  18. "Department of commerce".
  21. "The 14th Round of Negotiation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -".
  23. S, Arun (27 July 2017). "India pressed to open up procurement". The Hindu.
  24. "Now push RCEP, Abe-san". The Straits Times. 24 November 2017.
  25. "RCEP: The Other Closed-Door Agreement to Compromise Users' Rights". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-04-28.
  26. Chandran, Nyshka (2017-01-12). "China-backed trade deal may not gain from TPP's loss. Blame India". CNBC.
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