Singapore on Friday formally ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest free trade agreement, making it the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member state to do so.
“We are the first country to complete the official ratification process by depositing our instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General of ASEAN today,” said Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing in a statement.
China last month ratified the pact.
All 10 members of ASEAN and other key partners, including Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea, signed the world's largest free trade agreement at a RCEP leaders’ summit last November.
Chan said Singapore's swift ratification of the agreement amid global uncertainties signals its strong commitment to strengthening trade and economic ties, as well as providing greater opportunities for their businesses and people.
“We look forward to our fellow RCEP partners completing the ratification process and the entry into force of the Agreement,” he added.
Countries in the partnership account for some 30% of global gross domestic product (GDP) and almost one-third of the world's population.
The RCEP agreement will enter into force 60 days after six ASEAN member states and its three free trade pact partners submit their instrument of ratification, acceptance, or approval to the bloc's secretary-general, while participating countries are targeting the agreement coming into effect next January.
By Pizaro Gozali Idrus in Jakarta