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News Japan, China and ASEAN nations sign RCEP trade pact

thomas

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I am not sure yet what to make of it, but the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) truly is a massive trade deal, at least in terms of countries and population. India pulled out last summer.

Asia-Pacific countries including Japan, China and the 10 members of ASEAN signed a regional trade deal on Sunday covering nearly a third of the global economy, wrapping up eight years of negotiations following the withdrawal of India. The 15 signatories to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership reached the agreement, aimed at cutting tariffs and establishing common rules in areas such as e-commerce and intellectual property, during a virtual leaders' summit. [..] Supporters of the trade pact, which covers 2.2 billion people with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion, said it will bolster pandemic-weakened economies by reducing tariffs, strengthening supply chains with common rules of origin, and codifying new e-commerce rules.


Here's a critical review by a Todai professor:


After eight years of talks, China and 14 other nations from Japan to New Zealand to Myanmar on Sunday formally signed one of the world’s largest regional free trade agreements, a pact shaped by Beijing partly as a counterweight to American influence in the region. The agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or R.C.E.P., is limited in scope. Still, it carries considerable symbolic heft. The pact covers more of humanity - 2.2 billion people - than any previous regional free trade agreement and could help further cement China’s image as the dominant economic power in its neighbourhood. It also comes after a retreat by the United States from sweeping trade deals that reshape global relationships. Nearly four years ago, President Trump pulled the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or T.P.P., a broader agreement than the R.C.E.P. that was widely seen as a Washington-led response to China’s growing sway in the Asia-Pacific region. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the president-elect, has been noncommittal on whether he would join the T.P.P.’s successor.

 
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