The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is the world’s largest Free Trade Agreement. Members include the 10 ASEAN nations, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. Together, the RCEP members comprise nearly 30% of the global population and global GDP. The RCEP is relevant to BRI dispute resolution because of China’s involvement. The RCEP is an instrument that both outbound and inbound investors along the BRI can tap on, and the RCEP has its own set of dispute settlement mechanisms.
On 4 February 2021, SIDRA and UNSW Law & Justice’s Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre jointly presented a webinar introducing the RCEP. The webinar provided participants with an overview on the RCEP’s trade implications, with a specific focus on its impact on international dispute settlement in the region. Heng Wang (Professor at UNSW Law & Justice, Co-Director of HSF CIBEL Centre) introduced participants to the RCEP and its trade implications. Mark McLaughlin (Global Visiting Assistant Professor at SMU) discussed investment protections under the RCEP. Kun Fan (Associate Professor at UNSW Law & Justice) delved into the RCEP's implications on international dispute settlement. Guillermo García-Perrote (Senior Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills) provided commentary from a practitioner perspective, as an international arbitration lawyer specialising in infrastructure and energy disputes. Allison Goh (Research Associate, SIDRA) acted as moderator. The webinar concluded with questions from webinar attendees and a lively discussion among the panellists, touching on topics such as investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, the function of parallel multilateral treaties in the region, the role of the Singapore Convention in expediting the use of mediation and further discussion on the trade implications of the RCEP. The webinar was well-received by participants hailing from 21 countries and territories around the world.