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Monday, April 19, 2021

Asia-Pacific Nations Sign World’s Biggest Trade Pact

Fifteen countries have signed the world’s biggest trade pact, accounting for a third of the global economy.

Fifteen countries have signed the world’s biggest trade pact, accounting for a third of the global economy.

Ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand virtually signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), forming the world’s biggest trading bloc, during the annual ASEAN summit last Nov. 15.

According to a summary statement released by ASEAN, the RECP will account for 30% of the global economy and 30% of the global population.

Vietnam’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department Director Luong Hoang Thai said that the RECP will “help reduce or remove tariffs on industrial and agricultural products and set out rules for data transmission.”

The RECP will come into force when the signatory countries ratify the deal domestically within the next two years.

Many countries in Asia hope that the pact will help their economies recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The RECP excludes the United States but remains the door open for India to join.

The RECP is also expected to help Japan, South Korea, and China to finally agree on a trilateral free trade deal.

The RECP is also seen as an extension of China’s influence in the region.

“Under the current global circumstances, the fact the RCEP has been signed after eight years of negotiations brings a ray of light and hope amid the clouds,” China’s Premier Li Keqiang said, calling the pact “a victory of multilateralism and free trade.”

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