15 Asia-Pacific Countries Signed RCEP Trade Deal

15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region have signed one of the biggest free trade deals called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Deal. The deal covers 2.2 billion people and 30% of the economic output of the world. Also, this deal  covers nearly 28% of global trade.

Highlights

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal was signed virtually on October 15, 2020. The negotiation for this deal between these countries had started eight years back.

Members that signed the deal

The trade deal was signed between Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, 10-nation from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

About the deal

The RCEP trade deal has been signed to set the terms of trade in goods & services and cross-border investment. The deal also sets some new rules for important areas including electronic commerce and intellectual property whose importance has increased over time. Under the deal, the effect on the trade of finished goods between Asian nations will be marked in particular.

Significance of the deal

The deal has been signed in the crucial time of COVID-19. Thus, the trade deal would form a crucial part of their plans in order to recover from the pandemic. This deal demonstrates the strong commitment to support the economic recovery, inclusive development, job creation and strengthening regional supply chains. It further shows the support of these countries for an open, inclusive and rules-based trade & investment arrangement. This deal is being seen as a significant step to remove the trade barriers and to extend the influence of China.

Where does India stand?

India is not the part of this RCEP deal currently. However, the signatories of the deal highlighted that the door is open for India to join the trading bloc.