OREANDA-NEWS. An agreement on the creation of a free trade zone was signed in Hanoi by 15 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is projected to cover 30 % of the world’s population.

The RCEP includes ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines, as well as China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

It is known that earlier India also participated in the negotiations, but it withdrew in November last year. Nevertheless, ASEAN claimed that the door remains open for this country.

The partners by RCEP promise an early ratification of the treaty to restore the economy after the coronavirus pandemic. It is predicted that RCEP will cover 30 % of the global economy. Reduced trade duties will apply under the agreement. The partnership will strengthen China’s position in the region; it will also become Japan’s first free trade agreement with China and South Korea.