Singapore‚Äôs Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that on 9 April 2021, Singapore deposited its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN and became the first country to complete the official process for ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement. It is understood that China, Japan and Thailand completed their domestic procedures to approve RCEP, but apparently have not deposited their instruments of ratification with ASEAN.

RCEP is the world’s largest free trade agreement and was signed by all 10 ASEAN members (Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines) and key partners China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand at the 4th RCEP leaders’ summit in November 2020.  These 15 countries account for almost 29% of global GDP.

The RCEP Agreement will come into force 60 days after six ASEAN member states and three of the non-ASEAN signatories deposit their ratification instrument, acceptance or approval with the Secretary-General of ASEAN.  The target date to bring the agreement into force is January 1, 2022.