The world’s largest trade pact kicked in on Saturday (Jan 1), cutting tariffs for businesses for about 92 per cent of goods traded among signatory parties that have ratified the agreement.
The 10 countries that have ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement are Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The free trade agreement is between 15 countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, which are expected to ratify it soon. Myanmar’s ratification is pending acceptance by other members.
For South Korea, the agreement will take effect on Feb 1 – 60 days after its instrument of ratification, a document by which a country formally agrees to be bound by a treaty, was deposited.
The RCEP is also the first time China and Japan, as well as Japan and South Korea, are in a free trade agreement.
The RCEP builds on existing bilateral agreements that Asean has with its free trade partners. It covers about 30 per cent or US$26 trillion of global gross domestic product, and 30 per cent of the world’s population.