Editors: Mahani Hamdan, Muhammad Anshari, Norainie Ahmad

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

eBook: US $49 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $78
Printed Copy: US $54
Library License: US $196
ISBN: 978-981-5123-23-4 (Print)
ISBN: 978-981-5123-22-7 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2023
DOI: 10.2174/97898151232271230101


The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free-trade deal between 10 ASEAN member states and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. It is the world's biggest regional trade deal, and it will create the world's most populous trade area. This edited collection features 10 contributions from multidisciplinary authors and is meant to share research and best practises on different aspects of the RCEP. It presents research projects that contribute to the discussion about the theory, lessons learned, and business strategies, to give a better understanding of the RCEP and how it can shape policy in member countries. The themes in each chapter can also serve to evaluate reports on the RCEP's overall progress. The book covers a broad range of subjects, including an overview of the RCEP, digital economy, peer-to-peer lending, international e-commerce, big data, ICT readiness and much more.

This work is a key source of information and reference for RCEP development for academics and researchers (in economics and political science), government and trade organisations and policymakers interested in the RCEP. Members of the general public who want to understand debates surrounding the RCEP will also benefit from the information provided.


General readers, academics, economists, political scientists, policymakers, government and trade organizations.


The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free-trade deal involving 10 ASEAN member states, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. It is the world’s largest regional trade agreement, and it will result in the world’s most populous trade area. The proposed edited book is the first on the subject of RCEP to be published. The book is multidisciplinary in nature and is intended to disseminate and discuss research and best practices on any element of RCEP. The book focuses on high-quality research projects that contribute to theory, lessons learned, best practices, and critical understanding and policy implications or formulation regarding the RCEP among member nations. Additionally, reports on the RCEP's general progress are examined in relation to the book's theme.

The book Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP): Potentials and Challenges is expected to become a significant source of information and reference for RCEP development, particularly in terms of promoting awareness, by incorporating conceptual, recent development, best practices, comparative assessment, business processes, as well as strategies and outputs from RCEP studies across multiple domains of knowledge. To assure the book's quality, each chapter was reviewed twice. Academicians and students who can use the chapters in this book as references for the latest developments in the RCEP, researchers in academia seeking a perspective on the RCEP, government organizations interested in the information about the RCEP, policymakers who need to understand the discussion about the RCEP, and members of the general public seeking information about the RCEP are likely to be readers.

The book covers a wide variety of topics, including an overview of the RCEP. The book is divided into ten chapters that cover the recent RCEP discussion on process, methods, and difficulties. Each chapter is summarized below.

Chapter 1 titled “An Overview of Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP)” by Mahani Hamdan, Muhammad Anshari, Norainie Ahmad, (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Institute of Policy Studies), discusses that RCEP is a recently established Free Trade Agreement between Asia-Pacific countries with the goal of increasing trade between participating countries. RCEP established an integrated market with 15 members of the countries, which has facilitated the mobility of products and services among the participating countries. It aims to negotiate on trade in products and services, investment, intellectual property, dispute settlement, e-commerce, small and medium-sized firms, and economic cooperation. Currently, it is the world’s largest free trade agreement in terms of economic impact, and it has the potential to promote trade and integration among member countries. The chapter’s objectives are to evaluate the opportunities and challenges that RCEP is facing.

Chapter 2 titled “Integrating RCEP with Cross-Border E-commerce (CBE) Towards Accelerating Economic Recovery in ASEAN” by Mia Fithriyah (Indonesia Open University, Indonesia), states that connectivity is the basis of e-commerce development. E-commerce reinforces connectivity, and aims to promote a continuous stream of information, logistics, free cash flow, and so forth. A seamless connection between the virtual and physical parts of an e-commerce network could be demonstrated toward Cross-Border E-commerce (CBE). A region-wide e-commerce support environment with a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement would undoubtedly support economic stabilization. Notably, this model is positively in line with the restricted conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak (Anshari et al., 2021a). However, businessmen should improve connectivity-derived services via technology and the internet in order to add more value to the successful implementation of CBE. Considering today’s consumers are more complex, the COVID-19 economic turbulence has resulted in a severe bankruptcy storm for business areas worldwide (Hamdan et al., 2020). Hence, the potential and opportunities of CBE will be explained in detail in this study. The determinants of the successful adoption of CBE remain complex. Therefore, our framework allows us to assess the extent of concerns about CBE opportunities and the potential for accelerating economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chapter 3 titled “Economic Integration’s Impact on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” by Emil Ali (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Institute of Policy Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam) and Muhammad Anshari (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Institute of Policy Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam), affirms that this study examines how the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) affects the commercial and economic activities of RCEP member countries, including supply chain management (SCM), tariff reductions on trade, customs duty reductions, market expansion, and the likelihood of obtaining economies of scale in manufacturing. This chapter adopted a qualitative method approach, which involved reviewing current literature studies and interpreting them in order to make possible recommendations. The findings indicate that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will significantly impact industries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as textile and apparel supply chain integration, and that this will provide a significant opportunity for member countries to further improve their economic conditions. Additionally, improving the SCM leads to an increase in GDP, enabling many countries to achieve a favorable balance of trade and encouraging them to pursue innovation. The implementation of the RCEP agreement also has its challenges and needs to be addressed in order to make the adoption of RCEP a success.

Chapter 4 titled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution Landscape for RCEP” by Abdullah Al-Mudimigh (Dar Al Uloom University, Saudi Arabia) & Abdur Razzaq (Universitas Islam Negeri Raden Fatah Palembang, Indonesia), states that this chapter examines the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement in general, as well as how it contributes to the progression of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th Industrial Revolution) (4IR). It primarily focuses on the RCEP, which was signed by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand in order to expand and strengthen engagements with one another and their relationships to Industry 4.0, whereby the potential issues and solutions are discussed in greater depth. It also highlights the security and privacy issues and thoughts on how 4IR might help countries improve their economies over the long term. The chapter includes reflections on experiences as well as an analysis of how the information contained in the agreement affects the growth of the RCEP agreement.

Chapter 5 titled “Disruptive Innovation Reshaping Future RCEP” by Muhammad Anshari, Norainie Ahmad, & Mahani Hamdan (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Institute of Policy Studies), discusses the relationship between the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and the advent of Disruptive Innovation. RCEP was signed in November 2020 by a total of fifteen countries, with the goal of advancing regional economic integration and exerting greater influence over the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The main focus of this chapter is on assessing the benefits of disruptive innovation and trade under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). We performed a literature review and applied a SWOT analysis in order to assess the strengths and weaknesses of disruptive innovation, as well as the opportunities and challenges presented by the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Disruptive innovation can be beneficial to the majority of RCEP countries, since it can raise market growth, increase profit, and increase the productivity of – and efficiency for, disruptive technologies used in manufacturing. On the other hand, the possible challenges may be detrimental to smaller emerging economies, whose employment rates may be adversely impacted, and local enterprises may be overshadowed as a result of the increased competition.

Chapter 6 titled “Is Big Data a Disruptive Innovation to RCEP?” by Ares Albirru Amsal (Faculty of Economics, Universitas Andalas, Padang-Indonesia), states that big data has a lot of potentials to increase international trade. As the largest free-trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) can utilize big data and related technologies to create fair and mutually beneficial trade. With the main characteristics of volume, variety, and velocity, big data provides strategic advantages for businesses that use it. The data can be processed using descriptive, diagnostics, predictive and prescriptive analytics. However, not all RCEP members have the same level of data processing capability. Their IT development also varies. Therefore, decision-makers need to resolve issues related to data utilization, especially in terms of digital literacy, security, and privacy.

Chapter 7 titled “Financial Technology Innovation - Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Lending in the RCEP Member States” by Rayna Kartika (Faculty of Economics, Universitas Andalas, Padang-Indonesia), investigates that Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) aims to strengthen the economy and the free trade agreement among 10 ASEAN member states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and 5 partner states (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand). One of the ways to improve economic growth is to enhance the investment sector into start-ups and SMEs. Peer-to-peer lending platforms exist to ease the mechanism of funds lending and borrowing from investors to Start-ups and SMEs. Currently, the rise of P2P lending, particularly in RCEP member states, has boosted the economic growth and development of technology. The government assistance to set up the regulation regarding the mechanism of P2P lending has been carried out in order to create a clean and transparent practice of P2P lending among borrowers and lenders. Therefore, this chapter describes the introduction of RCEP member states and P2P lending, and the mechanism for adopting P2P lending platforms in RCEP member states.

Chapter 8 titled “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals” by Blessing Gweshengwe (Department of Rural and Urban Development, Great Zimbabwe University, Zimbabwe), explores that an economic partnership can play a significant role in poverty reduction in the countries involved in it. The partnership’s contribution to poverty alleviation is, however, a function of its scope and the nature of participating countries and could be constrained by various factors. Considering this, the chapter addressed whether the RCEP can contribute meaningfully to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 1 within the ASEAN region. This aspect is yet to be subjected to scholarly examination. The chapter examined the potential of the RCEP to help ASEAN countries to eradicate poverty, the factors that could jeopardise this endeavour and the measures that could be taken to address these factors. The chapter found that the RCEP could indeed contribute to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 1 in ASEAN countries since it has the potential to contribute to poverty eradication. This is because of the partnership’s capacity to, among other aspects, drive economic growth, boost real convergence and optimise the poverty eradication potential of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the ASEAN region. This contribution may, however, be jeopardised with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, and because of political instability in some ASEAN countries. In order to mitigate the impact of both of these challenges, ASEAN countries could reinforce their social protection systems, intensify their commitment to the RCEP and address the needs of the losers in the RCEP.

Chapter 9 titled “Regional Trade Deal with China for a New Digital Economy” by Abdur Razzaq (Universitas Islam Negeri Raden Fatah Palembang, Indonesia), states that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be one of the most important free trade agreements in the history of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. It will also be one of the most important agreements in the world. This is being done in an effort to improve trade ties across the Asian-Pacific region's economies. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has spread over the world, it has emerged as a topic that can have an influence on business. China is innovating in the way it trades by taking advantage of the digital economy to its advantage. China's economy benefits to some extent from this strategy. China’s economy recovers partly due to the implementation of this digital system, becoming the world's first to do so. Throughout the outbreak of COVID-19, the country has demonstrated that it is inventive and capable of supporting its economy and speeding its development. The RCEP agreement will have a greater impact not only on China but also on the participating members.

Finally, Chapter 10 titled “Empowering The Underprivileged Community through Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship” by Fahmi Ibrahim and Dayangku Rodzi Pengiran Haji Rahman from School of Business, Universiti Teknologi Brunei (UTB), Brunei Darussalam, discusses increasing awareness of being socially responsible and addresses social problems involving various key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, as well as the corporate and businesses, and the community included. With social issues experienced globally, such as climate change, introducing diversity in society or eradicating poverty, it is imperative to use social innovation to improve or replace the way things are currently done. This paper aims to analyse the impact of social innovation of entrepreneurship to provide stable income to underprivileged and unemployed segments and youth. It discussed key elements that support the development of entrepreneurship to ensure sustainability and growth, to ensure the underprivileged segment and youth will continue to earn, thus reducing reliance on welfare assistance support. The research was conducted based on interviews and observation methods. Two significant projects investigated that employed the social innovation model, how they were applied and the implications to the society who participated in these projects. These include the process, the role of individuals and the collective action of key strategic stakeholders in managing and structuring the programs. It was concluded the importance of entrepreneurship in driving economic growth and empowering the targeted segment, such as the underprivileged, through entrepreneurship to provide employment and sustainable income. Recommendations were made in managing social issues, uncovering the importance of social inclusivity, social innovation in developing individuals and driving economic growth, involvement of all parties from the public and private sectors, as well as non-profit and non-government organization to expand the initiatives to include those who are entitled to receive the support.

After the summaries of the chapters included in the book, the book portrays and assesses RCEP’s overview, potentials, challenges and future directions. The book emphasizes quality, research-based studies that contribute to theory, lessons learned and best practices, critical understanding and policy formulation on RCEP. We hope you all find them useful and interesting for research, teaching and policy studies.

Thank you,

Mahani Hamdan
Institute of Policy Studies
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Brunei Darussalam

Muhammad Anshari
Institute of Policy Studies
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Brunei Darussalam

Norainie Ahmad
Institute of Policy Studies
Universiti Brunei Darussalam
Brunei Darussalam