15 nations, including China, sign world's biggest trade agreement
The agreement, which covers almost a third of world economy, will lower tariffs across many areas in coming years
Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations, including China, on Sunday, signed the world's biggest trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), sans India with hopes that it will help recover from the shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The RCEP was signed after eight years of negotiations at the conclusion of the annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders and their regional partners, held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agreement, which covers almost a third of the world economy, will progressively lower tariffs across many areas in the coming years, reported Channel News Asia.
India, one of the leading consumer-driven market in the region, pulled out of talks last year, concerned that the elimination of tariffs would open its markets to a flood of imports that could harm local producers.
The RCEP was first proposed in 2012 and loops in 10 ASEAN economies — Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia — along with China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia.
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