Economic chiefs from Japan , China , South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) held an online meeting on September 10 . In the joint statement after the meeting , the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement(RCEP) was included in the guideline to enter into force by January 2022 . This is the first time that the target date for RCEP to take effect has been announced .
The RCEP is a framework to promote trade liberalization through tariff cuts . 15 countries including China , Japan and South Korea and ASEAN countries have joined the RCEP . Countries that signed the agreement in November 2020 are moving ahead with domestic ratification procedures . The joint statement made it clear that the effective date will be January 2022 .
If more than six of the ASEAN countries and more than three of the five non-ASEAN countries have not completed their domestic procedures , and South Korea and New Zealand are pursuing domestic procedures , and there are uncertain factors whether the agreement can take effect as scheduled .
“This is a strong signal that the economy can recover from the coronavirus and the region is committed to shifting to a multilateral trading system ,” the joint statement said .