Timeline set for 16-coun­try trade pact

China Daily (Canada) - - NEWS CAPSULE -

China was among 16 na­tions is­su­ing a joint dec­la­ra­tion on a trade pact dur­ing the ASEAN meet­ings, paving the way for the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP) to take ef­fect next year.

Un­der the dec­la­ra­tion an­nounced on Sun­day, ne­go­ti­a­tions on the RCEP, which started three years ago, will con­clude in 2016 and the 16 coun­tries will ac­cel­er­ate the re­duc­tion of tar­iffs for trade in goods. Its mem­bers, in­clud­ing the 10 ASEAN states, China, Aus­tralia, Ja­pan, the Repub­lic of Korea, New Zealand and In­dia, ac­count for al­most half the world’s pop­u­la­tion and have a com­bined GDP ex­ceed­ing $17.1 tril­lion, or 27 per­cent of global GDP.

The RCEP is thus larger than the re­cently con­cluded 12-na­tion Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, which in­cludes the United States, Ja­pan, New Zealand, Aus­tralia and Brunei, but not China.

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