The Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA) is a Japanese led proposal for trade co-operation, free trade agreement, among the 16 present member countries of the East Asia Summit. All those movements and efforts were taken over by the following Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The 16 countries are:
The concept has been in discussion stages since 2006 but gained momentum in 2008 and 2009 when India and ASEAN; and Australia, New Zealand and ASEAN respectively concluded free trade agreements.
The CEPEA proposal was advanced by Japan in conjunction with the establishment of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). The two mechanisms are designed to be mutually supporting liberalisation and co-operation.
The details of the concept and its relationship with other proposals for the region, such as the East Asian Community, remain unclear. An alternative proposal based on the 13 members of the ASEAN Plus Three is called the East Asia Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA).
The Third East Asia Summit agreed that a final report on the CEPEA proposal was to be received at the Fourth East Asia Summit which was held in October 2009.
The Chairman's Report for the Fourth East Asia Summit (25 October 2009) stated:
19.We noted the final Phase II Report of the Track Two Study Group on Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) and welcomed the decision of our Economic Ministers who met in Bangkok on 15 August 2009 to task the Senior Economic Officials to discuss and consider the recommendations in the Phase I and II reports. CEPEA and East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA) could be examined and considered in parallel.
The report for the ASEAN Plus Three meeting, held the day before with 13 of 16 of the same members, also stated:
13.We noted the final report of the Phase II feasibility study of the East Asia Free Trade Area (EAFTA) and welcomed the decision of 12th AEM Plus Three Consultations in Bangkok on 15 August 2009 to task the Senior Economic Officials to discuss and consider the recommendations in the Phase I and II reports. EAFTA and Comprehensive Economic Partnership in East Asia (CEPEA) could be examined and considered in parallel.
The Chairman's Statement of the 16th ASEAN Summit (9 April 2010) stated:
30. We noted the initiatives being undertaken to take forward broader regional integration by considering the recommendations of both East Asia Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA) and the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA) studies together. We looked forward to receiving the progress report at the 17th ASEAN Summit in October 2010 and to discussing with our Dialogue Partners the future direction of regional architecture with ASEAN at its core.
By August 2010 working groups involving the 16 nations to study Economic Cooperation, Rules of Origin, Customs Procedures and Tariff Nomenclature had been formed.
In August 2011, East Asia Summit Economic Ministers welcomed a Chinese and Japanese joint 'Initiative on Speeding up the Establishment of EAFTA and CEPEA'.
13 of the 16 nations (excluding India, Australia and New Zealand) are also simultaneously negotiating an East Asia Free Trade Area.
The two processes are not alternatives and both are being pursued simultaneously
The 16 members are presently involved in a series of separate arrangements among the members of the grouping. The 10 members ASEAN have established the ASEAN Free Trade Area. Australia and New Zealand have the long established Closer Economic Relations.
Between the 16 members bilateral and multilateral arrangements are in place or under negotiation.
ASEAN has the following arrangements in place:
plus China, Japan and South Korea are researching (as at October 2009) a joint arrangement between the three countries (China–Japan–South Korea Free Trade Agreement) with talks hoped to commence in 2012;
China has the following additional arrangements in place:
Japan has the following additional arrangements in place:
South Korea has the following additional arrangements in place:
Australia has the following additional arrangements in place:
India has the following additional arrangements in place:
multiple additional bilateral arrangements between one or more ASEAN members separately.
In addition individual members of ASEAN may also have other arrangements in place beyond the arrangements negotiated by ASEAN as a bloc i.e., Singapore by itself outside of ASEAN has a series of FTAs.