The RCEP, the world’s largest free-trade bloc, will officially come into effect in January next year.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed last year and includes the ten member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as their five largest trading partners China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
The trade deal, which notably does not include the United States, is said will comprise nearly a third of all global economic activity.
The RCEP was signed virtually in November last year on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN Summit.
ASEAN countries that have ratified the deal already include Laos, Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Outside ASEAN, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have also ratified the agreement.
A market of some 2.2 billion people, or 30% of the world’s population, will be covered by the RCEP, with an output of USD 26.2 trillion.
The deal will see increased investment in countries with lower-cost and lesser-skilled workers, such as Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, which will be of special interest to manufacturers from Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.