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15 countries have formed the world’s largest trading bloc

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RCEP, or the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is an economic cooperation block composed of 10 countries from Southeast Asia, South Korea, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and represents 29% of the world’s gross domestic product.

What is the RCEP, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership?

The pact has been seen by many commentators as a further extension of Chinese influence over the region, following the 2017 American withdrawal by the now-former US President Donald Trump, who scrambled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) shortly after being been elected.

Negotiations on the RCEP went on for eight years, and the pact was finally signed on Sunday, during a virtual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations hosted by Vietnam.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang hailed the pact as a glimmer of light during this year of global turmoil caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The pact will eliminate a series of import tariffs for the next 20 years and includes a series of agreements on telecommunications, intellectual property, financial services, e-commerce, and professional services.

Countries participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Australia
Brunei
Cambodia
China
Indonesia
Japan
South Korea
Laos
Malaysia
Myanmar
New Zealand
Philippines
Singapore
Thailand
Vietnam

image source: wikipedia

Source: ASEAN

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