Summary of RCEP: A new trade agreement that will shape global economics and politics

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RCEP: A new trade agreement that will shape global economics and politics summary

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The 2020 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) represents close to one-third of the world’s population and its productive output. As it unfolds, China and Japan will likely take on far greater roles on the world stage, while the United States may find its place in the region diminished. Experts Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer look at the potentially formidable trading bloc the RCEP creates and offer the United States ways to rethink its economic and strategic objectives​​​​​​ in the area.

About the Authors

Peter A. Petri is a nonresident senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center. Michael Plummer is the director of SAIS Europe and a professor at Johns Hopkins University.


The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) could significantly boost global incomes and world trade by 2030.

Ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and five other countries in the region adopted the RCEP in November 2020, creating “arguably the largest free trade agreement in history.”

The RCEP could generate an annual increase in global income of $209 billion and add $500 billion in world trade by 2030.

The RCEP also carries important geopolitical implications.

The RCEP, along with the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (...

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