About the RCEP negotiations
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations were launched by Leaders from ASEAN and ASEAN's free trade agreement (FTA) partners in the margins of the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 20 November 2012. The negotiations are based on the Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating RCEP [PDF] endorsed by Leaders.
RCEP is an ASEAN-centred proposal for a regional free trade area, which would initially include the ten ASEAN member states and those countries which have existing FTAs with ASEAN – Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand. RCEP will build on and expand Australia’s existing FTA with ASEAN and New Zealand, AANZFTA. It also complements Australia’s participation in bilateral FTAs with individual countries.
RCEP has the potential to deliver significant opportunities for Australian businesses. The 16 RCEP participating countries account for almost half of the world’s population, over 30 per cent of global GDP and over a quarter of world exports.
The objective of launching RCEP negotiations is to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement that will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, electronic commerce, dispute settlement and other issues.
RCEP forms part of the Government’s strategy for lowering trade barriers and securing improved market access for Australian exporters of goods and services, and for Australian investors.
Key interests and benefits
- RCEP participating countries are important economic partners and regional neighbours for Australia.
- Ten out of Australia’s top 15 trading partners (China, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam) are participating in RCEP negotiations, and together with the other six participating countries, account for over 60 per cent of Australia’s two-way trade, 17 per cent of two-way investment, and over 65 per cent of Australia’s goods and services exports.
- RCEP provides an opportunity to strengthen the regional trade and investment environment, boost regional economic confidence and benefit consumers.
- Australia is seeking for RCEP to secure:
- commercially meaningful market access for goods, services and investment,
- modern rules which address contemporary business priorities, such as facilitating participation in regional supply chains and the use of electronic commerce, and
- ongoing cooperation mechanisms to support implementation and contribute to economic reform in the region.