China has officially signed the world’s largest free trade agreement

The Fourth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement Leaders’ Meeting was held on November 15.

15 countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand formally signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), marking the largest global free trade agreement.

The signing of the RCEP is an important step for regional countries to take concrete actions to safeguard the multilateral trading system and build an open world economy.

8 years of negotiation

The agreement was initiated by the 10 ASEAN countries and invited six dialogue partner countries, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India to participate.

It aimed to establish a 16-nation free trade agreement with a unified market by reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers.

The negotiations were officially launched in November 2012, and involved more than 10 fields including small and medium-sized enterprises, investment, economic and technological cooperation, trade in goods and services.

On November 4, 2019, the third “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement” leaders’ meeting issued a joint statement announcing that the 15 member states had concluded all text negotiations and all market access negotiations, and would start the review of legal texts.

India is currently not part of the agreement.

Largest in the world

According to 2018 statistics, the 15 member states of the agreement will cover approximately 2.3 billion people worldwide, accounting for 30% of the global population.

The total GDP will exceed 25 trillion U.S. dollars, and the area covered will become the world’s largest free trade zone.

Incorporate multiple new forms of trade

The agreement closely follows the development trend of global trade and incorporates many new forms of trade, E-commerce is one of them.

In addition to e-commerce, the agreement also includes intellectual property rights, competition policy, government procurement and small and medium-sized enterprises which exceed the scope of WTO regulations.

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