A total of 15 countries, including ASEAN Nations and China, have virtually signed on Sunday (15 November) to form the world’s largest trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). About one-third of the world’s economic activities will come under its purview. This agreement is being seen as a big gamechanger for China. Many Asian countries are hopeful that after this agreement the economic impact of the corona virus epidemic will help to recover faster.
According to experts, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – which includes 10 Southeast Asian economies with China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia – is the world’s largest trade agreement in terms of GDP. The Prime Minister of Vietnam chaired the Fourth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Summit.
First proposed in 2012, the deal was finally ratified at the end of the South-East Asian Summit (ASEAN Conference) as leaders of member countries consider it effective to bring back the epidemic-hit economies. Under the agreement, member countries will reduce tariffs and open the way for trade service. America is not included in this agreement. So, it is being considered as an alternative trade agreement under the leadership of China which will reduce the Washington trade initiative.
Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said before signing the agreement virtual, “I am happy that after eight years of complex discussion, today we are officially moving towards the agreement by ending the RCEP negotiations.” The Vietnamese PM said the agreement indicates that in this difficult time of the Corona virus epidemic crisis, RCEP countries have decided to open their markets instead of taking protectionist steps. The agreement includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in addition to the 10 member countries of ASEAN.