RCEP was signed on 15 September 2020. Members of RCEP include ASEAN countries, Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and New Zealand. RCEP bloc takes up around 30% of the global GDP, and is the world's largest FTA.
While the recent free trade deals (such as EVFTA and CPTPP) are more about "market opening", RCEP aims at the core role of ASEAN with facilitation and collaboration of products manufacturing and circulation.
Leaders are optimistic about RCEP, and hope it could boost the economic recovery from COVID19.
Among other things, RCEP's "rule of origin" is expected to have the biggest impact. In the globalized era, a finished product may contain parts produced in various countries, and some of which may face tariffs elsewhere in the ASEAN zone. With RCEP, these product's parts are treated equally and companies may have an incentive for suppliers seeking in the trading bloc.
RCEP also includes provisions on IP, telecom, financial services, and e-commerce. RCEP highlights better protection for non-traditional trademarks and wider range of industrial designs in the region, as well as accession to international IP treaties.
For starters, leaders hope that the pact will help to spur recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.