AUSTRALIA has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which ensures that exporters can access the benefits of what will be the world’s largest free-trade agreement.

Australia has joined the group of RCEP signatory states that have ratified, ensuring our businesses will have access to the agreement from 1 January 2022.

In a joint statement from trade minister Dan Tehan and minster for foreign affairs Marise Payne said the agreement would strengthen Australia’s trade relationship with the Association of Southeast Asian States 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,” the two ministers said.

“Australia’s ratification of RCEP does 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 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.”

RCEP will enter into force 60 days after ratification by at least six ASEAN states and at least three non-ASEAN states. That milestone was reached on 2 November 2021 with ratification by Australia and New Zealand, which will pave the way for RCEP to enter into force on 1 January 2022.