The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will take effect on January 1 next year, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced on Wednesday.
As of Tuesday, six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states – Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, as well as four non-ASEAN signatory states – China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, have ratified the RCEP agreement, said MOFCOM citing a statement by the ASEAN Secretariat.
The RCEP will enter into force 60 days after ratification by at least six ASEAN states and at least three non-ASEAN states, according to agreement, which means the effective date of the pact for the 10 countries is January 1, 2022.
Signed by 15 Asia-Pacific nations in November 2020, the RCEP will be the world's largest free trade agreement, covering almost a third of the world's population and nearly a third of the world's gross domestic product.
The signatories hope that the free trade bloc will be a boost for pandemic-hit economies across the region by progressively phasing out 90 percent of the tariffs on imports between signatories, as well as organizing multi-country supply chains and codifying new e-commerce rules.
Four ASEAN countries and South Korea haven't ratified the RCEP yet.
China completed the ratification for the RCEP in April, making it the first among non-ASEAN signatory states, according to MOFCOM.