RCEP: the countries of Asia and the Pacific are the largest trading bloc in the world

The Economic Partnership Regional (RCEP) consists of 10 countries in Southeast Asia and Korea of ​​the South, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The pact is seen as an extension of Chinese influence in the region.

are excluded from this offer the US, which withdrew from a trade agreement rivals Asia and the Pacific in 2017.

President Donald Trump

negotiations on RCEP began in 2012. the agreement was signed on Sunday at the sidelines of a meeting of the Association of Nations Southeast Asia (Asean), organized by Vietnam.

"I am pleased to say that after eight years of hard work, starting today, we brought officially negotiations RCEP a conclusion for the firm," said Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Officials turns signing copies of the agreement and show them off on the camera in the virtual summit.

leaders hope the agreement will help stimulate the recovery of Coron avirus pandemic.

"Under the current global circumstances, the fact of the RCEP was signed after eight years of negotiations brings a ray of light and hope in the midst of the clouds," said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang .

Mr Li described the agreement as "a victory for multilateralism and free trade."

India was also part of the negotiations, but withdrew last year because of concerns that lower rates could hurt local producers.

the signatories of the agreement said the door was still open for India to join in the future.

RCEP members represent nearly a third of the population and account for the world 29% of world gross domestic product.

The new free trade bloc will be bigger than both the Agreement between the United States and Mexico-Canada and the European Union. What will RCEP?

By Tim McDonald, BBC News, Singapore

RCEP is expected to eliminate a series of import tariffs within 20 years.

also includes provisions on intellectual property, telecommunications, f inancial services, e-commerce and professional services

But it is possible that new "rules of origin" -. officially define that a product comes from -. have the greatest impact

and many Member States have free trade agreements (FTA) with each other, but there are limitations.

"existing FTAs ​​can be very complicated to use compared to RCEP" said Deborah Elms of Asian Trade Center.

companies with global supply chains could face tariffs, even within an FTA because their components contain products that are made elsewhere.

A product made in Indonesia, which contains parts of Australia, for example, face tariffs of strength in the ASEAN free trade area elsewhere.

Under RCEP, parts receive the same treatment of any member country, which could give companies in the RCEP countries an incentive to look into the commercial region of suppliers.

more on trade in Asia mega-pact

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