Australia signs on to RCEP, points to “grave concerns” over Burmese military

December 16, 2021

CANBERRA -- Australia has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), giving farmers and businesses access to the benefits of what will be the world's the largest free trade agreement from January 1,2022.

Australia's Federal Government says RCEP will strengthen Australia's trade relationship with ASEAN and signal its commitment to ASEAN-led regional economic architecture.

When in force for all 15 signatories, RCEP will be the world's largest free trade agreement, bringing nine of Australia's top 15 trading partners into a single economic framework.

Australia's Trade Minister, Dan Tehan, said ratification of RCEP did not change the Government's grave concerns regarding the situation in Myanmar.

"We call on the Myanmar security forces to cease violence against civilians, engage in dialogue, and release all those arbitrarily detained, including Australian Professor Sean Turnell," the Minister said.

"The Government strongly supports ASEAN's leadership to chart a course out of the crisis in Myanmar. We will continue to work with our ASEAN and other partners to support regional efforts towards a resolution."

Founding signatories to RCEP are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea along with the ASEAN nations. (ATI).