An regional trade pact that created the world’s biggest free trade zone came into effect on Saturday, grouping together 15 Asia-Pacific nations that make up almost one third of the global economy, reports Caixin. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), singed in November 2020 after eight years of talks, went into force for China and the nine other countries that were first to ratify the agreement: Japan, New Zealand, Australia and six members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
South Korea will follow on February 1, China’s Ministry of Commerce said on December 31 citing the state-run Xinhua News Agency. The RCEP’s other signatories are Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.
China said it will fulfill its RCEP obligations by implementing agreements, expanding foreign trade and reciprocal investment while strengthening supply chains, according to a statement released Saturday by the Ministry of Commerce.