Timeline and history of the RCEP negotiations

This page outlines what happened for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership to enter into force.

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Ratification and entry into force

As with any treaty action, there are several steps that need to be completed before the RCEP agreement can enter into force in New Zealand:

  • National Interest Analysis: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), in consultation with other agencies, prepared a National Interest Analysis (NIA) which was presented, along with the final RCEP text to Cabinet for approval. The NIA sets out the advantages and disadvantages for New Zealand of ratifying the RCEP agreement. 
  • Cabinet Review and Signature: Cabinet approved the NIA and final text of the RCEP agreement and authorised New Zealand to sign the agreement. Following signature, the NIA and RCEP text was published and a copy of the Cabinet paper was proactively released under the Official Information Act. 
  • Parliamentary Treaty Examination Process: The signed RCEP text and NIA was presented to the House. The text and NIA was considered by the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, which reported back to the House.
  • Ratification: New Zealand completed the Parliamentary Treaty Examination process and implemented the necessary domestic legislative changes it was ready to ratifying RCEP. New Zealand deposited its instrument of ratification on 2 November 2021.
  • Entry into force: RCEP entered into force on 1 January 2022, 60 days after the date on which at least three non-ASEAN signatories and six ASEAN signatories have completed their necessary domestic procedures and notified the Depositary that they are ready.

You can read more about New Zealand’s general processes for treaty ratification on the Parliament website(external link).

Timeline of negotiations

Since 2012, RCEP countries have participated in 31 full negotiating rounds, a number of Ministerial meetings and three Leaders Summits, cumulating in the full conclusion of RCEP negotiations and signature of the agreement on 15 November 2020.

The following timeline sets out the negotiations to date:

  • February 2020: Intersessional meeting held in Bali, Indonesia
  • November 2019: Ministerial meeting followed by Leaders’ Summit in Bangkok, Thailand
  • October 2019: Intersessional meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand
  • October 2019: Ministerial meeting held in Bangkok, Thailand
  • September 2019: Round 28 held in Da Nang, Viet Nam
  • August 2019: Ministerial meeting held in Beijing, China
  • July 2019: Round 27 held in Zhengzhou, China
  • June 2019: Round 26 held in Melbourne, Australia  
  • March 2019: Ministerial meeting held in Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • February 2019: Round 25 held Bali, Indonesia
  • November 2018: Leaders’ summit in Singapore
  • October 2018: Round 24 held in Auckland, New Zealand
  • July 2018: Round 23 held in Bangkok, Thailand
  • July 2018: Ministerial meeting held in Tokyo, Japan  
  • April 2018: Round 22 held in Singapore  
  • March 2018: Ministerial meeting held in Singapore
  • February 2018: Round 21 held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia  
  • November 2017: Leaders’ Summit held in Manila, Philippines
  • October 2017: Round 20 held in Incheon, South Korea  
  • September 2017: Ministerial meeting held in Manila, Philippines
  • July 2017:  Round 19 held in Hyderabad, India
  • May 2017: Ministerial meeting held in Ha Noi, Viet Nam  
  • May 2017: Round 18 held in Manila, Philippines
  • February 2017: Round 17 held in Kobe, Japan
  • December 2016: Round 16 held in Jakarta, Indonesia
  • November 2016: Ministerial meeting held in Cebu, Philippines
  • October 2016: Round 15 held in Tianjin, China
  • August 2016: Round 14 held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
  • June 2016: Round 13 held in Auckland, New Zealand  
  • April 2016: Round 12 held in Perth, Australia
  • February 2016: Round 11 held in Brunei
  • October 2015: Round 10 held in Busan, South Korea
  • August 2015: Ministerial Meeting held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • August 2015: Round 9, Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar
  • July 2015: Intersessional  Ministerial Meeting, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • June 2015: Round 8 held in Kyoto, Japan
  • February 2015: Round 7 held in Bangkok, Thailand
  • December 2014: Round 6 held in New Delhi, India
  • June 2014: Round 5 held in Singapore
  • April 2014: Round 4 held in Nanning, China
  • January 2014: Round 3 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • September 2013: Round 2 held in Brisbane, Australia
  • May 2013: Round 1 held in Brunei


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