Thailand became the latest Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member nation to complete the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, according to its Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.
Thailand deposited its instrument of ratification with the general-secretary of ASEAN on October 28. Other nations that have already completed the process of ratification includes Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, Laos, China and Japan.
Signed in November 2020, the RCEP is a mega trade deal between 10 ASEAN member states and its partners. RCEP is the world’s largest trading and investment market, with a population of nearly 2.3 billion and a total GDP of $28.5 trillion in 2020.
The 10 nations are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Experts believe with Thailand becoming the latest nation to ratify the RCEP agreement, the final completion of the RCEP could come into effect in January 2022.
The RCEP agreement is expected to reduce tariffs on nearly 30,000 commodities exported by Thailand to other member economies to zero. As per the agreement, tariffs on additional commodities will be gradually reduced to zero as well in the next 10 to 20 years.
RCEP will greatly enhance Thailand’s trade development among RCEP member states, which accounted for 53 percent of Thailand’s exports last year, Jurin said.