The world largest free trade bloc was inked on 15 November 2020 by 15 countries from the Asia Pacific region. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) covers 30% of global GDP and one third of the world’s population. As countries continue to face health and economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will the RCEP aid or impede their economic recovery? With the World Trade Organisation (WTO) still in limbo will RCEP lead the way for a reinvigoration of similar regional pacts? How will the new US administration under President–elect Joe Biden recalibrate its trade policy? What is China’s role in RCEP and who are the losers from the mega deal? And finally what are the consequences of India staying out of the trade bloc? Trade policy expert Professor Biswajit Dhar, Chief Editor of Newsclick Prabir Purkayastha and Benny Kuruvilla from Focus on the Global South discuss the implications of RCEP.