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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Fifteen Pacific-Asian Nations to Ink World’s Biggest Free-Trade Agreement

Fifteen nations are set to sign a huge China-backed free-trade deal this week, marking the conclusion of Beijing’s decade-long pursuit to expand its presence across the Asian-Pacific region.

Fifteen nations are set to sign a huge China-backed free-trade deal this week, marking the conclusion of Beijing’s decade-long pursuit to expand its presence across the Asian-Pacific region.

According to analysts, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would be the world’s largest trade agreement in terms of GDP once it gets signed by the 15 countries.

The pact, which was first introduced in 2012, was forged with 10 Southeast Asian participating economies, together with China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.

The deal is aiming to reduce tariffs and boost supply chains while harmonizing the regulations and standards related to trade to effectively facilitate cross border commerce and other business transactions within the region.

Some experts say that the implementation of the pact might place some U.S. firms, as well as other multinational entities outside the zone, in an uncomfortable position because it rivals the currently obsolete U.S. trade initiative, more so after President Donald Trump receded from negotiations for a separate Asia-Pacific trade agreement also known before as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

”After eight years of negotiating with blood, sweat and tears, we have finally come to the moment where we will seal the RCEP Agreement this Sunday,” Malaysia’s Trade Minister Azmin Ali told the reporters during a press briefing.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has also stated that the agreement would be signed by its participating countries this week during his opening remarks at the virtual ASEAN Summit.

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