Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)
RCEP is a regional free trade agreement that complements and builds upon Australia's existing free trade agreements with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries.
RCEP entered into force on 1 January 2022 for ten original parties: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. RCEP then entered into force for the Republic of Korea on 1 February 2022, for Malaysia on 18 March 2022 and for Indonesia on 2 January 2023. Once ratified by all initial signatories, RCEP will be the world’s largest free trade agreement by members’ GDP.
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). For background on the path to launching RCEP negotiations, refer to Background to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
India withdrew from RCEP negotiations in November 2019, and on 15 November 2020, Leaders endorsed the Ministerial Declaration on India's participation in RCEP stating that India may commence RCEP accession negotiations at any time following the entry into force of the Agreement.
RCEP provides Australian businesses with new access to and improved rules for growing trade and investment in the fast-growing and dynamic Indo-Pacific region.
RCEP includes chapters 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.
For more information on the agreed RCEP outcomes, refer to the RCEP Outcome Documents.
For a comprehensive archive of news and updates on RCEP, refer to the RCEP News page.
Australian ratification of RCEP
Australia ratified RCEP on 2 November 2021 following the completion of Australia's domestic treaty-making procedures:
- the RCEP text and the RCEP National Interest Analysis were tabled in the Australian Parliament on 18 March 2021
- the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) tabled its report of its inquiry into RCEP, recommending that binding treaty action be taken on 31 August 2021
- RCEP implementing legislation was introduced on 1 September 2021, passed by the House of Representatives on 20 October 2021 and by the Senate on 21 October 2021, and received Royal Assent on 25 October 2021.
- The Federal Executive Council approved RCEP-related regulations, and Australia's ratification of RCEP, on 28 October 2021.
- The Government Response to the JSCOT report on RCEP was tabled on 17 February 2022.
Other FTAs with RCEP participating countries
Other FTAs between and among RCEP participating parties will co-exist with RCEP. Businesses will be able to decide which FTA they will use, based on a range of factors such as the tariffs and associated rules of origin applied. Many Australian export businesses currently make these assessments, for example, between SAFTA or TAFTA and AANZFTA.
DFAT maintains up-to-date country and regional factsheets containing economic data about each of the RCEP participating countries.