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Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

news-details Image Source Apr 16, 2021 17:39 IST · 1 min read

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a China led mega trade bloc comprising 15 countries, it consists of the 10 ASEAN members and Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The trade bloc came into existence in November 2020 without India on the sidelines of a virtual 37th ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam. It is the world's largest trading agreement expected to represent at least 30 per cent of the global GDP.

The agreement has unified the preexisting bilateral agreements between the 10-member ASEAN and five of its major trade partners.

The agreement means a lot for China, as it will give it access to Japanese and South Korean markets in a big way.

India had ended negotiation on RCEP last November, largely because of concerns it would open it up to Chinese goods amid an already wide trade imbalance with China, and the failure of the agreement to adequately open up to services.

India did not return to the negotiation despite requests from the RCEP members who have discussed the trade pact for nearly eight years.

It is understood that staying out of RCEP may interfere with India's bilateral trading with the RCEP member-countries.

The RCEP is the first free trade agreement between China, Japan, and South Korea, three of the four largest economies in Asia.

It also touches on intellectual property but does not focus on labor unions, environmental protection, or government subsidies.

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