What is RCEP?

China has been pushing its own FTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with 16 countries. Seven countries of RCEP are members of TPP. However, it includes major countries like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. 

RCEP countries account for 12 % of global trade (TPP 13 %), a collective GDP of 29 % (TPP 36 %), and nearly half of the global population (TPP 11 %). With TPP steadily progressing to be a reality, the pressure will be on China to accelerate the progress of RCEP. 

Australia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei - are in both TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) and RCEP.  The TPP deal, reached on October 5 after marathon talks between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations, aims to liberalise trade in 40% of the world's economy and would be a legacy-defining victory for President Barack Obama. 

RCEPís history reaches back some 10 years, starting as a study process for an FTA between ASEAN, China, Japan, and Korea (known as ASEAN+3). This was complemented from 2007 with a parallel study process for an ASEAN+6 FTA, which included the ASEAN+3 partners plus Australia, India, and New Zealand. 

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