China, 14 other nations to sign world's largest free trade agreement

Author: Nurluqman Suratman

2020/11/12

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--China and fourteen other countries are set to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement on 15 November which aims to progressively cut tariffs and further market access for goods and services.

RCEP is a free trade deal between 10-member ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and will account for around a third of the world's GDP and population.

"All RCEP participating countries have concluded negotiations and will sign the RCEP agreement this Sunday [5 November] at the 4th RCEP Summit, Malaysia's minister of international trade and industry Azmin Ali said in a statement on 11 November.

"The implementation of this agreement will help to ensure opening of markets as well as uninterrupted supply chain," he said.

The RECP will also enable the easing of non-tariff measures including the harmonisation of rules and standards related to trade that would facilitate cross border trade within the region, Ali said.

"It will also demonstrate to the world that ASEAN together with the ASEAN FTA Partners say no to protectionism, and yes to free trade."

The RCEP deal will be signed on the sidelines of a four-day virtual ASEAN summit.

Negotiations for the RCEP started in 2012.

(recasts headline and lead for clarity)

Photo: People attend the eighth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting via video conference in Hanoi, Vietnam on 27 August, 2020. (Xinhua/Shutterstock)