Singapore ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, becoming the first participating country of the world's largest free trade deal to do so, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said Friday.

A ministry statement quoted Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing as saying the ratification "signals Singapore's strong commitment to strengthening our trade and economic linkages with our partners, for the benefit of our businesses and people."

Chan said Singapore hopes the other participating countries will ratify the deal and expedite its entering into force.

The RCEP was signed last November by 15 Asia-Pacific nations.

The deal groups the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- plus Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

India, one of the founding members, did not sign it due to concern that its trade deficit with China would grow.

The RCEP is the world's largest trade bloc, accounting for some 30 percent of global gross domestic product and nearly a third of the world population.

The pact will come into effect once it is ratified by six of the ASEAN members and three of the other countries.