The RCEP agreement is open to India`s accession from the effective date of the agreement in accordance with Article 20.9 (accession) of the RCEP agreement, in accordance with the ministerial declaration issued on 11 November, which indicates that it is willing to negotiate with Delhi its future accession to the trade bloc. The RCEP, which to date is the “largest” regional trade agreement, was initially negotiated between 16 countries – ASEAN members and countries with which they have free trade agreements (FTAs), namely Australia, China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and India. The Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement between Asia-Pacific countries, Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Starting in 2020, the 15 member countries represent about 30% of the world`s population (2.2 billion people) and 30% of global GDP ($26.2 trillion), making it the largest trading bloc in history.  The unification of existing bilateral agreements between ASEAN and five of its major trading partners was signed on 15 November 2020 at a virtual ASEAN summit hosted by Vietnam and will enter into force as soon as it has been ratified by at least six ASEAN signatories and three non-ASEAN countries.   The trade pact, which includes a mix of middle-income countries [Note 1] and low-income countries[Note 3], was developed at the ASEAN summit in Bali, Indonesia in 2011, when its negotiations were officially initiated in Cambodia at the 2012 ASEAN summit.   It is expected that within 20 years of entry into force, approximately 90% of import duties between its signatories will be removed and common rules are established for e-commerce, trade and intellectual property.  Uniform rules of origin will help facilitate international supply chains and reduce export costs across the bloc. The RCEP is not as comprehensive as the comprehensive and progressive agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, another free trade agreement in the region that encompasses some of the same countries.  The RCEP “does not establish uniform employment and environmental standards or require countries to open services and other vulnerable areas of their economies.”  In 2016, the Electronic Frontier Foundation described RCEP`s first draft intellectual property provisions as “simply the worst copyright provisions ever seen in a trade agreement.”  India currently has agreements with members such as the ASEAN bloc, South Korea and Japan and negotiates agreements with members such as Australia and New Zealand.
Two audits of the India-Singapore ECSC have been completed; The india-Bhutan trade and transit agreement was renewed in 2016; and the India-Nepal trade agreement was renewed in 2016. Eight rounds of negotiations for the review of the Indeinem and Korean EPA, which began in 2016, have been completed. India has begun the review of the country`s free trade agreement with Japan with its trading partners. It is also increasingly wise that India`s interest would be to invest heavily in the negotiation of bilateral agreements with the United States and the EU, both of which are being developed. India, as an initial participant in the RCEP, has the option of joining the agreement without having to wait 18 months, as planned for the new members under the terms of the pact. The RCEP signatories indicated that they intended to open negotiations with India as soon as it applied for “written registration” of the pact and that it could attend meetings as an observer prior to its accession. India has not been able to provide counter-measures such as an automatic trigger mechanism to increase tariffs on products when their imports exceed a certain threshold. It also wanted RCEP to exclude the bonds of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) from the investment chapter, as it did not want to distribute to countries with which it has front-runner disputes