Fifteen Asia Pacific Nations including China signed the World's biggest trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). India stayed away from signing the pact with hopes of recovery from the aftershocks of the Covid-19 Pandemic. This RECP was signed after eight years of negotiation immediately after the conclusion of the annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders and their respective regional counterparts.
This agreement, covering almost a third of the world economy, will progressively lower tariffs across many areas in the coming years. After the signing is complete, all countries have to ratify the RECP within a couple of years before it becomes effective. India stayed away from signing the pact because of the concern that the elimination of tariffs would ultimately open its market to a flood of imports that would eventually harm the local producers in the times of Pandemic.
The RECP was first proposed in 2012 with member countries being Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia. The member countries are hoping that India will join in signing the pact soon for greater integration in regional cooperation.