Singapore – Singapore has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, with plans to implement the accord on the 1st January 2022.

This “expeditious ratification”, stated by Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry, signals Singapore’s “strong commitment to strengthening our trade and economic linkages with our partners, for the benefit of our businesses and people”.

RCEP is the world’s largest free trade deal and trading bloc, encompassing a third of the global population and 30 percent of global GDP. The trading bloc members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), as well as Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Member states benefit tariff-free trade for over 90 percent of goods traded, as well as preferential access to certain products in selected markets. Companies within the RCEP zone will also be able to provide services to the wider region and increase foreign shareholding limits. Other benefits include more protection from anti-competitive activities and simplified goods clearance procedures.

Once the RCEP agreement has been ratified by six or more ASEAN member states and three non-ASEAN signatories, the agreement can enter into force 60 days alter. Ratification needs to be completely locally before deposited with the Asean secretary-general.