SINGAPORE: Singapore ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement on Friday (Apr 9), becoming the first participating country to do so, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said in a press release.
The RCEP is the world's largest free trade agreement, bringing together the 10 ASEAN economies as well as Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
"Singapore's expeditious ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement signals Singapore's strong commitment to strengthening our trade and economic linkages with our partners, for the benefit of our businesses and people," said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.
"We look forward to our fellow RCEP Participating Countries doing likewise, to expedite the entry into force of the agreement."
Singapore has deposited its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, said MTI.
The RCEP was signed by the 15 participating countries in November last year. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said then: "The RCEP is a major step forward for the world, at a time when multilateralism is losing ground and global growth is slowing."
The RCEP deal establishes a mutually beneficial economic partnership that builds on existing ASEAN agreements with the bloc's five FTA partners, said MTI on Friday.
Comprising about 30 per cent of global gross domestic product and close to a third of the world's population, the deal will complement Singapore's existing network of FTAs and boost trade and investment flows, the ministry said.
Businesses can expect to benefit from tariff elimination of about 92 per cent on average, as well as streamlined rules of origin for greater flexibility to tap on preferential market access benefits.
The RCEP agreement will enter into force after six ASEAN member states and three ASEAN FTA partners have ratified it.
The participating countries are targeting entry into force on Jan 1, 2022, said MTI.