On November 15, 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by China and 14 other nations — the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Brunei*, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia*, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore*, Thailand and Vietnam*) plus Australia*, China, Japan*, New Zealand* and South Korea. Many of the products for which tariffs are eliminated are already duty-free. [Countries with an * are also signatories to the CPTPP]
RCEP was originally proposed by China as a counter to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which became the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP) after the Trump Administration withdrew from the TPP in 2017. While it is a more limited trade agreement than the CPTPP, it covers an area with 2.2 billion people and includes many of the same countries of the CPTPP. The signing ceremony was held virtually in each of the 15 member nations due to the pandemic.