The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a new free trade agreement among 15 Southeast Asian and Pacific countries. Considering the predominant role of this region in manufacturing, the RCEP will offer opportunities for productions and supply chain optimisation.

The RCEP was ignited by the ASEAN members who reached an agreement with China, Japan, South Korea as well as Australia and New Zealand. After over eight years of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force on 1st January 2022 for Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.

The ratification process by domestic process is ongoing for Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines.


The agreement covers trade in goods, services, movement of people, investment, intellectual property, e-commerce, competition, government procurement and dispute settlement.

Impact on businesses

Reduction and elimination in duty rate:  The aims of the RCEP is to reduce or eliminate import duties by approximately 92% over a period of 20 years. This opens opportunities for Customs duty planning and duty mitigation for companies with supply chains across the region. 

Elimination of non-tariff measures

The RCEP prohibit on-tariff measures between member states.  Quantitative restrictions will be eliminated. Some non-tariff measures will remain allowed as per the RCEP or the WTO agreement. 

Rules of Origin

RCEP contains cumulation rules that will allow businesses to meet their content requirement across the region. This will offer a wider choice of sourcing and increase the flexibility of supply chain across the region.

Trade Facilitation

RCEP contains a range of trade facilitations measures such as advance rulings, transparency, use of IT infrastructures.

Stage Implementation

From 1 January 2022, only materials sourced from Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Laos, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are considered as originating materials for the purposes of determining whether a good is an RCEP originating good.

Goods and materials from the remaining RCEP signatories, namely Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines are not considered as originating materials until RCEP enters into force for that signatory.

For help in making the most of the opportunities offered by the RCEP contact:

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