Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership comes into effect

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A new trade agreement covering nearly a third of the world's population is now in force.

The Asia-Pacific area's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has come into effect for its 15 member nations, marking the start of a new chapter in global trade.

Covering around 30 percent of the world's economy, it officially began operating on January 1st 2022 and means businesses can enjoy tariff reductions of up to 92 percent on the goods they buy and sell.

The agreement also aims to achieve greater transparency in trade and could pave the way for nations to make their supply chains more resilient, something that will be even more important in the wake of the chaos caused by COVID-19.

According to a new United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) study, RCEP will create the world's largest trading bloc by economic size and could boost exports between its members by almost two per cent thanks to tariff concessions.

However, Singapore's minister for trade and industry Gan Kim Yong told CNBC's Squawk Box Asia participants must not rest on their laurels now the deal is done if RCEP is to work as planned.

"It's a journey and in this journey, the first part is going to be a lot of sharing and education. There's a lot of work to be done - it's not just signing the agreement and bringing it into force," he added.