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. The RCEP is the first free trade agreement between China, Japan and South Korea, three of Asia`s four largest economies.  When it was signed, analysts predicted that it would help revive the economy in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, "bring the economic centre of gravity back to Asia" and accentuate the decline of the United States in economic and political affairs.    The RCEP has been designated to date as the "largest" regional trade agreement and was originally negotiated between 16 ASEAN countries, ASEAN members and countries with which they have free trade agreements (FTAs), namely Australia, China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and India. "RCEP signatories will begin negotiations with India at any time after the RCEP agreement is signed, as soon as India has submitted a written application for membership of the RCEP agreement, taking into account India`s most recent status of participation in the RCEP negotiations and any further developments thereafter," said the RCEP, made up of 10 ASEAN members. , as well as Australia, China, Japan and South Korea. The China-backed group is expected to reach at least 30% of global GDP and become the world`s largest free trade agreement. The 2020 agreement is expected to boost the global economy by $186 billion.
  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."  "The agreement means a lot to China because it will give it wide access to the Japanese and South Korean markets, as the three countries have not yet reached a free trade agreement," said Amitendu Palit, Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead (Trade and Economics) at the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. "The fact that this happened despite the pandemic is certainly a lever for China and shows that the idea of decoupling China in the regional sense is not a matter of substance." 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.