The way forward for RCEP negotiations
Leaders from ASEAN countries and their six regional free trade partners agreed to start negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 20 November 2012. The ‘Phnom Penh milestone’ signaled ASEAN’s determination to lead the way in assembling the emerging regional economic architecture. The existing FTAs between ASEAN and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand could eventually lead to the creation of an integrated market with a combined market population of more than three billion people, and a combined GDP of about US$19.78 trillion (based on 2011 figures). With the region accounting for more than half of the global market and about a third of global economic output, a successful RCEP would significantly boost global trade and investment.