ASEAN inks first FTA with GP Chapter

Mega Free Trade Agreement signed after almost eight years

MANILA – The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement was signed by Trade Ministers from the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand during the fourth RCEP Leaders’ Summit held on 15 November 2020.

The new trade pact between ASEAN and its free trade partners aims to establish a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership to expand regional trade and investment and global economic growth and development.

Aside from trade in goods, trade in services, temporary movement of natural persons, and investment, the RCEP Agreement also covers emerging areas in trade such as government procurement (GP), intellectual property, electronic commerce, and competition.

The RCEP Agreement is the first and only “ASEAN plus One” foreign trade agreement (FTA) that includes GP. The GP Chapter highlights the importance of promoting the transparency of laws, regulations, and procedures, and developing cooperation in GP among the Parties. This chapter also includes a review article for the future improvement of the chapter itself. Under this Agreement, parties do not have recourse to dispute settlement for any matter arising under its GP Chapter.

Having this GP Chapter in an ASEAN plus One FTA is a welcome opportunity for the Philippines as the transparency and cooperation among the parties is the first step into making our local manufacturers, suppliers, contractors and consultants globally competitive when it comes to GP.

For more information, provides the legally verified text and annexes of the RCEP Agreement, as well as the RCEP Summary.