What does RCEP stand for

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Abbr.RCEP; 1. term: Regional trade agreement in the Pacific region that has been negotiated in 31 rounds of negotiations and 18 ministerial meetings since November 2012 and signed in November 2020 after eight years. The negotiating partners were the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASEAN (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam) as well as China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand (ASEAN Plus 3 and ASEAN Plus 6). The negotiating partners and the free trade area partially overlap with membership of the now ratified Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In November 2019, India withdrew from the negotiations on the RCEP. On November 15, 2020, the RCEP was formally signed in a virtual online conference. Ratification and full entry into force is expected within two years by the end of 2022.

2. aim: The RCEP aims at a comprehensive dismantling of tariffs between the contracting parties within the framework of a free trade area: Around 90% of all tariffs will be dismantled over a long period of 20 years. It also lays down common trading rules and thus also facilitates supply chains. In addition to trade, the RCEP also includes services, investments, e-commerce, telecommunications and copyrights. The RCEP contains, among other things, regulations for the dismantling of further trade barriers and for investment protection by private arbitration courts. Occupational safety, social and environmental standards are excluded.

3. importance: As a regional free trade agreement, the RCEP competes with numerous free trade areas and customs unions and is an example of regionalism - since the WTO and the global world trade system (multilateralism) can hardly show any progress in further negotiations, more and more bilateral or multilateral trade agreements are becoming more and more limited Participants closed. Further examples are the ratified agreements between the EU and Japan (Japan-EU Free Trade Agreement - JEFTA), the EU with Singapore (EUSFTA) and the EU with Vietnam (EVFTA). In the Asia-Pacific region, the RCEP is in direct competition with the ratified CPTPP, which came into force at the end of 2018. As a result, the pressure for an agreement between the remaining 15 negotiating parties increased significantly. Eight times, self-set time targets for the conclusion of the RCEP were not met. The membership of the RCEP partially overlaps with that of the Comprenensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). If implemented successfully, the RCEP would be the largest regional trade agreement well ahead of the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) / (USMCA) and the CPTPP: The 16 founding members of the RCEP, initially negotiating, represented 39% of the global GNP and 45% of the world population. After the withdrawal of India, the RCEP of the 15 member states represented around 30% of the world population (2.2 billion people) and almost 29% of the BNP (before the COVID-19 pandemic) - the RCEP thus ranks behind the internal market of the European Union . By participating in the RECP, the contracting parties each gain 0.2 percent growth. Observers see the successful conclusion of the RECP as an expansion of China's economic power in the Asia-Pacific region. After US President Trump's election defeat on November 3rd, 2020, the US is expected to return to multilateralism - further negotiations on trade partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region are not ruled out (e.g. expansion of the CPTPP to include the US and UK).