The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega-regional trade deal that covers half of the world’s population, 38% of the world economy and nearly 30% of the world’s trade volume. The 16-nation RCEP negotiations formally began in 2013 comprised of the 10 ASEAN Member states at its core along with 6 of its major trading partners (China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, India).With the rapid growth of China, India and Indonesia’s economies however, the combined GDP of RCEP member countries can potentially amount to double the size of TPP economies by 2050.
Often referred to as a “trade” pact, the RCEP deals with more than just trade – a large portion of the agreement will give rich countries and their corporations power to delve into non-trade issues that have far-reaching implications across sectors and communities. Covering half of the world’s population and containing provisions that are even worse than the TPP and the WTO, the impact of this mammoth trade deal on the environment, labor, agriculture, investment, intellectual property, etc. will be nothing like we’ve ever seen before.