The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal by 15 countries creates the largest managed trade area in the world, following eight years of negotiations. As discussed in Panjiva’s research of Oct. 2 the deal represents a China-led attempt to define the rules of trade in Asia. It remains to be seen whether President-elect Biden will rejoin the CPTPP to attempt to provide a counterweight.
The agreement will cut tariffs on around 90% of product lines over a one to 20 year period and also brings into place a wide-range of IP and digital trade rules, though it is not as complete as other trade deals such as CPTPP. RCEP will only come into force once it has been ratified by its member states which include the ASEAN bloc, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.