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AlwaysFree: Asia-Pacific Nations Set Up World’s Largest Trading Bloc


Ten Southeast Asian countries along with Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand on Sunday signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in a virtual summit hosted by Vietnam. The talks over the RCEP were initiated in 2012 and involved India. However, New Delhi decided to withdraw from the RCEP because of concerns that lower tariffs would hurt domestic industries. RCEP signatories said India could rejoin the bloc in the future.

The RCEP includes some of the world’s most powerful economies. It covers almost a third of the global population and approximately 29% of the world’s GDP. It is bigger than the European Union and the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Some analysts also see the agreement as a vehicle for Beijing to project its influence further in the Asia-Pacific region.

The RCEP is expected to remove a range of tariffs on imports in the next 20 years. RCEP members have already had free trade agreements with each other. However, the existing FTAs contain some limitations, including rules of origin. For instance, an Indonesian-made product with Australian components might face taxes under the ASEAN free trade zone. Hence, the RCEP is trying to address such an issue and providing producers with incentives to look for suppliers within the region.

Tags: All Products,AlwaysFree,Asia Pacific,Australia,China,English,Indonesia,Japan,Korea,Malaysia,Myanmar,NEA,Philippines,SEA,Singapore,Thailand,Vietnam

November 16, 2020 9:49 AM (GMT+8)