RCEP: 15 Asia-Pacific countries sign world’s largest free-trade deal

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Seven years after the first negotiations took place, 15 countries have banded together to sign the world’s largest free-trade deal. The agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership consists of nations from across the Asia-Pacific region. Ten Southeast Asian countries along with South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand make up its membership. A notably absent party is the US which withdrew from a rival regional trade pact in 2017. RCEP has been seen by many as a way for China to extend its sphere of influence in the US’s absence.

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