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Officially Signed! The World's Largest Free Trade Agreement Concluded
        The 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Leaders' Meeting was held on November 15. The 10 ASEAN countries and 15 other countries including China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand formally signed the RCEP, marking the formal conclusion of the world's largest free trade agreement. The signing of RCEP is an important step for the countries in the region to take concrete actions to uphold the multilateral trading system and build an open world economy. It is of symbolic significance for deepening regional economic integration and stabilizing the global economy.
        It took 8 years for agreement negotiation.  
        The agreement was initiated by the 10 ASEAN countries with six dialogue partner countries including China, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India to participate in. It is designed to create a free trade agreement to unify the market among the 16 countries by cutting tariff and non-tariff barriers.
        The negotiation, formally launched in Nov. 2012, cover more than 10 fields, including small and medium-sized enterprises, investment, economic and technological cooperation, goods and service trade, etc. On Nov. 4, 2019, the 3rd RCEP Leaders' Meeting made a joint statement, announcing that the 15 member states had completed all text negotiations and virtually all market access negotiations, and would start the legal text review work. India, due to "having unsolved important problems" failed to join the agreement temporarily.
        The largest scale in the world 
        According to the statistical data as of 2018, the agreement's 15 member states will cover about 2.3 billion people, accounting for 30 percent of the world's population; the total GDP exceeded USD 25 trillion, the regions included would become the world's largest free trade zone.
        Incorporating multiple new trade forms
        Following the global trade development trend closely, the agreement has incorporated a lot of brand new trade forms with e-commerce being one of them. In addition to e-commerce, the agreement also includes such contents as intellectual property rights, competition policies, government procurement, small and medium-sized enterprises, which go beyond the scope as specified by WTO. 
        Source: People’s Daily