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Date 15.11.2020

Asia-Pacific nations sign world's biggest free-trade agreement

Ten ASEAN nations, plus five other Asia-Pacific countries, have signed the world's biggest trade deal in terms of GDP. The pact is expected to drive economic growth in a region hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fifteen nations in the Asia-Pacific region have entered into the world's largest free-trade agreement, which they hope will accelerate the recovery of their economies, ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, was signed on Sunday on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), held via videoconference due to the pandemic.

The virtual summit was hosted by Vietnam which held the rotating chair position in the run-up to the event.

The RCEP deal, signed eight years after negotiations first began, covers 2.2 billion people and a third of the world's economy. It had previously been expected that the deal would be signed in early 2020.

The pact lowers tariffs, opens up the service sector and sets common trade rules within the bloc. The agreement covers trade, services, investment, e-commerce, telecommunications and copyright.

However, environmental protection and labor rights are not part of the deal.

An open door for India

The China-backed agreement is seen as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a now-defunct Washington trade initiative.

It includes the 10 member states of ASEAN; Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei — along with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.

A notable absentee was India, which withdrew from the RCEP negotiations last year citing concerns over opening up its agricultural and manufacturing sectors to more foreign competition.

ASEAN leaders have said they still intend to expand trade with India and that the door remains open for New Delhi to rejoin the bloc.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Saturday reaffirmed his government's support for "broadening a free and fair economic zone, including a possibility of India's future return to the deal, and hope to gain support from the other countries."

The trade deal allows China — by far the biggest economy and the most populous country in the region — to cast itself as the "champion of globalization and multilateral cooperation," Gareth Leather, senior Asian economist for Capital Economics, said in a report.

[...]

https://www.dw.com/en/asia-pacific-nations-sign-worlds-biggest-free-trade-agreement/a-55604659

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That's one way to initiate carrying out the de-militarization of this military activity thread which is in a sub-section called "Military Current Affairs" which is on a board called Tank-net. No reason why another thread couldn't provide the back ground information and discussion of whatever nature the given day would have it as. But it's y'all forums board though so do as you must with it. I suspect there's a school of thought that believes the best way to keep a forums active is to instigate with disorganization, exaggerations, or other sorts of response triggering actions. Although sometimes I over think things. But still, a few minutes of thinking is spent on possibly why a post about a trade-related matter was made in what has been for a long time a military focused thread in a military sub-section.

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