Fifteen countries form world’s largest trading bloc


Fifteen Asia-Pacific countries have come together to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world’s largest trading bloc.

The RCEP covers nearly a third of the global economy. It is  made up of 10 Southeast Asian countries, as well as South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Members of the RCEP make up nearly a third of the world’s population and account for 29% of global gross domestic product.

The deal, however, excludes the United States, which withdrew from a rival Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017.

Leaders hope that the agreement will help to spur recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The RCEP is expected to eliminate a range of tariffs on imports within 20 years. It also includes provisions on intellectual property, telecommunications, financial services, e-commerce and professional services.

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