Japan approves world's largest trade deal including China

Tokyo, Japan | Wed, April 28, 2021

The world’s largest free trade agreement, signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries including China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was ratified by Japan’s parliament on Wednesday, paving the way for the pact to come into force later this year.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will create a free trade zone that will cover roughly 30% of global GDP, trade, and population. It will be Japan’s first trade agreement with both China and South Korea, the country’s largest and third largest trading partners, respectively.

The agreement, which was signed by 15 countries in November, will take effect 60 days after six ASEAN members and three other countries have ratified it. Singapore and China had completed their ratification procedures as of Wednesday.

To encourage free trade, the agreement will abolish tariffs on 91 percent of products and enforce common rules on investment and intellectual property. The government anticipates a 2.7 percent increase in Japan’s GDP and the development of 570,000 jobs as a result of the trade agreement.

The RCEP includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, as well as Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, which are all ASEAN members. India was a founding member, but it withdrew from all talks in November 2019 due to concerns about its growing trade deficit with China.

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