An historic trade agreement was signed today governing trade between 15 Asian and Indo-Pacific countries that together represent 30% of global trade. It is now the largest trade bloc in the world, eclipsing both the USMCA (United States/Mexico/Canada) free trade agreement and the European Union trade bloc.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The deal was signed on Sunday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), hosted by Vietnam. Said Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, “I am delighted to say that after eight years of hard work, as of today, we have officially brought RCEP negotiations to a conclusion for signing.” — BBC
“The 15 member countries account for about 30% of the world’s population and GDP, making it the largest trade bloc. It was signed at the Vietnam-hosted virtual ASEAN Summit on 15 November 2020, and is expected to take effect within two years, after it has been ratified by the member countries.” — Wikipedia
In addition to the ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) five of their FTA partners — Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea — have signed on. India is likely to request ‘Observer’ status, with the new bloc extending a warm welcome to India to join them at a later date in this exciting new trade agreement.
The deal was signed on Sunday in a virtual online signing ceremony headquartered in Hanoi, Vietnam and has been a work-in-progress for 8-years.
15 countries, including Singapore, sign RCEP, the world’s largest trade pact — Straits Times
Perhaps Serving Notice to UK Negotiators to Get Brexit Done…
Had Brexit already taken place, the UK might’ve been invited to join such a trade bloc, or, at the very least, gain ‘Observer’ status in what is now the largest (by GDP and by population) trading bloc in the world, encompassing 30% of global GDP and a third of global population.
Should India join, it’s likely that Bangladesh would also join, rising both percentages cited above substantially higher.
What country wouldn’t want to be part of a rapidly developing group of countries that might soon represent 40% of global GDP and 50% of the world’s population?
Endlessly bickering about Brexit just won’t cut it in the 21st-century. Nowadays, things happen fast — and you either act promptly or you lose place in the international order. And that’s as it should be…
In the Meantime, There’s Free Trade Agreements that Should’ve been Signed with The Commonwealth and with America Long Ago!
So, let’s get on with it, before more industrious nations leave the UK sitting on the sidelines… again! (NAFTA first, CPTPP second, USMCA third, and RCEP fourth!)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has done a great job so far, but if other countries can sign historic trade deals in the midst of a pandemic, then the UK should be able to do the same. And we all know why that hasn’t happened…
It’s time to get the scissors out Prime Minister and release the UK from the Gordian Knot that the EU has tied around the United Kingdom.