China, Australia, Japan and 12 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region have formed the world’s largest free trade area.
The agreement was signed during the online summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. We are talking about the creation of a free trade area called the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership (CREP).
The following countries have joined forces for free trade: Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The total population of these countries, which account for 29 percent of the world economy, is 2.2 billion, and the total GDP is $ 26.2 trillion. This is slightly less than the share of the European Union (33 percent), but experts believe that the area will increase in the near future.
The agreement will include reduced trade duties, strengthened supply chains using unified rules for determining the country of origin of goods, and systematized new e-commerce rules.
This is Japan’s first free trade agreement with China and South Korea at the same time, Nikkei said.
Negotiations on VCEP have been underway since 2013. India also took part in the talks, but withdrew from the discussion last year.
Experts emphasize that the conclusion of the agreement in Hanoi against the background of the trade war with the United States is a great success of the communist leadership in Beijing. They predict that the agreement will strengthen the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region and counter protectionist tendencies.
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