Timeline set for 16-country trade pact
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.