The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and five of its trading partners: China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The agreement, signed on November 15, 2020, is the largest trade deal in history, covering an area that accounts for about 30% of the global GDP.

The RCEP agreement aims to reduce tariffs, streamline customs procedures, and harmonize regulations between the member countries, with the goal of facilitating trade and investment in the region. The agreement covers a wide range of sectors, including goods, services, investment, intellectual property, e-commerce, and competition policy.

In terms of goods, the RCEP agreement will gradually eliminate tariffs on 92% of traded goods over the next 20 years, with some exceptions for sensitive products such as rice and sugar. The agreement also includes rules of origin provisions to ensure that products qualify for tariff reductions based on their country of origin.

For services, the RCEP agreement includes provisions to promote cross-border trade and investment in sectors such as telecommunications, financial services, and professional services. It also includes provisions on movement of natural persons, which could facilitate the mobility of skilled workers across the region.

The RCEP agreement also includes provisions on intellectual property, including protection for patents, trademarks, and copyrights, as well as provisions on data protection and cybersecurity.

In the area of e-commerce, the RCEP agreement aims to promote the growth of digital trade by ensuring open and transparent rules for cross-border data flows, prohibiting data localization requirements, and promoting consumer protection and privacy.

The RCEP agreement also includes provisions on competition policy, with the aim of preventing anti-competitive practices and ensuring a level playing field for all businesses.

Overall, the RCEP agreement represents a significant step towards regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region. It is expected to provide a boost to trade and investment in the region, and could serve as a model for future free trade agreements between countries in the region and beyond.