The Ministers from the 16 RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) attended the 5th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held on 1 July 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. The Ministers discussed the developments since the 4th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting on 3 March 2018 in Singapore, including the outcomes of the 22nd round of negotiations held on 28 April-8 May 2018 also in Singapore; the intersessional meetings of selected working groups and sub-working groups; as well as the 4th RCEP Intersessional TNC and Related Meetings held on 25-29 June 2018 in Tokyo, Japan, which were also participated by the Working Group on Electronic Commerce(e-Commerce), the Working Group on Intellectual Property (IP), and the Sub-Working Group on Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation (CPTF) and intensification of market access bilateral negotiations.
The Ministers recognized the importance of swiftly and successfully concluding the RCEP negotiations consistent with the Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the RCEP, particularly in view of the current global trade environment which faces serious risks from unilateral trade actions and reactions, as well as their debilitating implications on the multilateral trading system. To this end, the Ministers reaffirmed their resolve to work together and see through the RCEP negotiations towards a conclusion and to achieve an agreement that would allow economies of different levels of development to actively participate in and benefit from an open and inclusive regional economic integration
RCEP is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the TPP trade agreement, which includes the United States but excludes China.