Asian countries create world’s largest trade union

An agreement was signed in Hanoi to create the world’s largest free trade bloc. Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (RCEP) includes 15 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The union was formed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), associated with US President Donald Trump, writes Reuters.

The membership includes 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. India withdrew from the talks in November 2019, but ASEAN stressed that “the door remains open for it.”

“The RCEP will soon be ratified by the signatory countries and will enter into force, which will contribute to economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic,” said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who held the ceremony as chairman of the Association.

RCEP is projected to occupy 30 percent of the global economy and cover 30 percent of the world’s population – about 2.2 billion consumers. The partnership will also help strengthen China’s position by placing it in a better position to shape the region’s trade rules.

At the same time, the creation of the bloc was a historic breakthrough: China and Japan reached a bilateral agreement on tariff reductions for the first time.