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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

About the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)

RCEP is a regional free trade agreement that will complement and build upon Australia's existing free trade agreements with 14 other Indo-Pacific countries.

RCEP will enter into force on 1 January 2022, with Australia as an original party.

It is a modern and comprehensive free trade agreement 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.

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).

On 15 November 2020, Ministers from 15 countries signed the Agreement.

India indicated in November 2019 that there were several issues preventing it from joining RCEP and has since confirmed it is not in a position to sign the Agreement: Joint Leaders' Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Even without India, RCEP will still be the world's largest free trade agreement.

On 15 November 2020, Leaders endorsed the Ministerial Declaration on India's participation in RCEP.

For more information on the agreed RCEP outcomes, refer to FTA outcome documents.

For more information about the RCEP Agreement, refer to the Overview RCEP [DOCX 680 KB] | [PDF 190 KB].

Progress towards RCEP's entry into force

RCEP has been ratified (or equivalent) by Australia, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Agreement provides that it will enter into force 60 days after at least six ASEAN Member States and at least three non-ASEAN Member States have ratified it.

RCEP will enter into force on 1 January 2022, 60 days after its ratification by Australia on 2 November 2021.

Australian ratification of RCEP

Australia deposited its instrument of ratification of RCEP with the RCEP depositary, the ASEAN Secretary‑General, on 2 November 2021.

This followed the completion of Australia's domestic treaty-making procedures:

  • the RCEP Agreement 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.

RCEP news

Ministers from 15 countries signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) on 15 November 2020, and RCEP will enter into force on 1 January 2022. News and updated information is posted on this page.

2021

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