Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for Asia Pacific Region and the World: Myth or Reality

Open for submissions 1 February 2022


The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has in its history the formulation and working of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) as the base of its inception. In the backdrop of ASEAN, the RCEP saw its emergence and growth in the form of the consistent negotiations that followed since May 2013, the year that witnessed round one of negotiations, in Brunei Darussalam. With the initial members being Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, the ASEAN began with the objective of integrating these member nations on the ground of critical matters pertaining to economic well-being, socio-cultural stability, regional stability, disputes around redressal mechanism, and a greater penetration into markets. The portmanteau added to its list of participating nations five more countries from the Southeast Asian belt: Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar. The addition of more partners to the ASEAN group further ameliorated its area in size as well as in activities.

At the heart of the birth of RCEP lies the undeniable performance of ASEAN and its Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries of the non-Southeast Asian region. ASEAN has numerous FTAs with other countries, such as China, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and India. The growth of free trade negotiations among ASEAN and aforementioned countries explains the evolution of RCEP. RCEP was created with the purpose of furthering the trade liberalization and economic integration among its proposed members (Carey, 2020). The living examples of ASEAN's growth in its activities are its association with China, Korea, New Zealand, Australia etc. through Free Trade Agreements (Wu, 2020). All the matters taken into deep consideration in multiple rounds of negotiations of RCEP have been carved out from the Guiding Principles and Objectives of the Regional Comprehensive Partnership Act. The principles which lay the basis of activities undertaken at different rounds of negotiation are majorly confined to trade and investment operations that could foster and deepen economic integration among participating countries. Apart from tariff easing in trade-related activities, rules of law like the Intellectual Property Rights also hand a great amount of relevance to the activities taken up. A more significant objective of RCEP is to address the conflicts among the participating nations in a humane and peaceful manner. Unifying the pre-existing bilateral agreements between the 10-member ASEAN and five of its major trade partners, RCEP was signed on 15 November 2020 at a virtual ASEAN Summit hosted by Vietnam.

From the ongoing context, it becomes imperative to explore the future outcomes of RCEP in the Asia-Pacific region. The region is expected to become a hub of investment and trade opportunities. However, the current Covid-19 pandemic is decreasing the cycle of growth. It will be interesting to examine the future of RCEP and the consequences it will have on trade and investment for the countries in the Asia Pacific region.


Why a Special Issue on RCEP?

RCEP could be revolutionary for the Asia-Pacific Region (Chang, Huang, Shang, & Chiang, 2020). The member countries will get a boost in the post-pandemic world due to RCEP. According to Brookings, RCEP is going to be an agreement reshaping the global economics (Petri & Plummer, 2020). In the light of these developments, it is imperative to deliberate on the dynamics of RCEP. We invite academicians, researchers, and policy makers to contribute original research in the form of research papers and articles for the Special Issue.


Tentative topics to be included:

Articles are invited to explore the following sub-themes and research questions:

How is RCEP going to change the investment and trade environment of Asia-Pacific region?

Which countries tend to benefit more in terms of Foreign Direct Investment?

Is there any causal evidence regarding the role of RCEP in promoting trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region?

What are the possible bottlenecks in the success of RCEP considering differences in the political economy of Asia-Pacific countries?

What role is ASEAN going to play? Will it further integrate or disintegrate?

What are the expectations of countries from the Asia-Pacific region that have not ratified RCEP?

Will RCEP be relevant in the post-pandemic world?

Which countries are expected to dominate RCEP?

What will be the implications for TTP?


How to submit:

The manuscript submission site is open for submissions on 1st February 2022. The deadline for submissions is 31st March 2022.

To submit your research, please visit the Scholar One manuscript portal. Please make sure to select the special issue.

Author guidelines can be found here.

For enquiries, please contact the Guest Editors:

Prof. Dr. Badar Alam Iqbal: [email protected]

Dr. Nayyer Rahman: [email protected]