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November 16, 2020

New Asia-Pacific Pact Is Largest Global Trade Deal

On November 15, China joined 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific in signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), an agreement that is expected to lower tariffs among key Asian trading partners. In addition to China, the pact includes Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.

As Fox Business reported, the accord is now the world’s largest-ever trade pact. Indeed, these countries account for one-third of all global economic activity.

The news outlet also called the deal “a coup for China” because it allows “Beijing to cast itself as a champion of globalization and multilateral cooperation” and gives the country “greater influence over rules governing regional trade.”

In a statement, the signatory countries said, “In light of the adverse impact of the pandemic on our economies, and our people’s livelihood and well-being, the signing of the RCEP Agreement demonstrates our strong commitment to supporting economic recovery, inclusive development, job creation and strengthening regional supply chains as well as our support for an open, inclusive, rules-based trade and investment arrangement”

A full summary of the agreement is here. The legal text is here.