East Asiaâ€™s Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement was concluded in a time of heightened uncertainty in the global economy and in the middle of the largest economic downturn in almost a century from a pandemic-induced global recession. The agreement consolidated the 10 member ASEANâ€™s free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, and the three northeast Asian economic powers China, Japan and South Korea. RCEP's economic cooperation agenda incorporates ASEAN processes which go beyond helping countries to implement the agreement and has potential to expand cooperation to new areas. This economic cooperation process makes RCEP a living agreement that can serve the needs of members as they evolve. It can also be used to embrace non-RCEP members, especially India, around particular agendas. The agreement is an important opportunity for China to use the RCEP framework to trial reforms and demonstrate its commitment to broader international multilateral liberalisation and economic cooperation.