The economic ministers of Japan, China, South Korea and ASEAN nations held an online meeting on Sept. 13. A joint statement released after the meeting mentioned the timing of the effectuation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) for the first time. The member states agreed to effectuate the pact before January 2022 .
RCEP cannot launch effectuation procedures unless six or more member states of ASEAN and three or more non-ASEAN countries have completed their domestic procedures. Japan and China have already completed their domestic procedures, and the process is currently underway for South Korea and New Zealand. Meanwhile, of the ASEAN states, Singapore is the only country that has completed its domestic procedures. It remains to be seen whether the trade pact can go into effect in line with the agreement. (Abridged)