15 Countries Signed A Big Trade Deal

15 Countries Signed A Big Trade Deal

over 3 years ago2 mins

Leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific countries – whose apartments probably smell of rich mahogany – signed one of the biggest trade agreements in history on Monday 🤝

What does this mean?

The “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership” (RCEP) is a deal between China, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and plenty more besides, and it covers a third of the world’s population and economic output. And it would’ve been bigger still if India – concerned China would throw its weight around – hadn’t withdrawn from talks in 2019.

The RCEP area now accounts for a third of the global economy

The RCEP will help products move more freely from member to member by cutting the tariffs they have to pay ✂️ And it looks like it could be worth it: economists reckon that by 2030, the deal could add almost $200 billion a year to the global economy.

Countries participating in the RCEP
Source: Asia Times

Why should I care?

Asian countries might be forming new alliances, but the US has been leaving them altogether: just look at its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a major trade deal involving Canada, Mexico, and many RCEP members – back in 2017 🌎 That’s left the world’s biggest economy out of two agreements with Asia’s heavy-hitters, and could see its influence over the world’s fastest-growing region continue to disappear. All that, while China reduces its dependence on overseas markets and technology…

It took almost a decade to negotiate the RCEP, which might come as some consolation to the UK: it’s been struggling to draft a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union (EU) in a fraction of that time 🙄 The country’s only replicated about half the trade deals it had with third-party countries when it was part of the EU – and it still has to get the big one with the bloc itself across the line. But the clock is ticking: UK and EU officials need to sign it off by December 31st, when the new rules will come into effect.

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