BLUF

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP), that includes China, could have significant strategic implications for our region.

Summary

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea and China has recently been signed. However,  the RCEP does not include the USA or India which may lessen its regional influence—noting that the USA and India are also not members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. However, a change of government in the US could see the US joining the TPP (see: Biden will back the trans-Pacific trade partnership). Though it is sometimes claimed that the RCEP is China-led, this article states that it is an ASEAN-led initiative. The RCEP binds China to a multilateral model rather than a model of bilateral relationships. Whereas in bilateral relationships one country can dominate another the multilateral model of RCEP makes this significantly more challenging. What opportunities for shaping our security environment does something like the RCEP offer Australia?