Powerful Asian trade bloc emerging

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Talks are speeding up between ASEAN member countries and other major Asian economies to establish the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a regional architecture for mutual economic partnerships between participating countries, similar to the free-trade model of the European Union.

The RCEP covers the 10 ASEAN members plus their trading partners Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, with a combined population of 3.2 billion.

The framework is expected to be endorsed by leaders at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in November this year. It could come into effect in 2015, the same year when the ASEAN Economic Community is supposed to kick off.

Asia’s economies, increasingly concerned about the slowdown in Europe and the sluggish US recovery, are trying to counter the trend by focusing on their regional economic strength. The RCEP is expected to ease trade for all members and give regional economic integration a boost. Analysts already see a powerful trade bloc emerging that “will change the world economy significantly”, according to Ganeshan Wignaraja, an economist at the Asian Development Bank.

China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi last month said that China supports the RCEP initiative and “will work with ASEAN and other relevant parties to push forward the process to create conditions for regional economic integration”.

The RCEP has also been conceived as a new NAFTA bloc, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement covering the US, Canada and Mexico.

Apart from the RCEP, Asian countries are also speeding up Free Trade Agreement negotiations with Latin American countries, such as Chile and Peru.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Talks are speeding up between ASEAN member countries and other major Asian economies to establish the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a regional architecture for mutual economic partnerships between participating countries, similar to the free-trade model of the European Union.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Talks are speeding up between ASEAN member countries and other major Asian economies to establish the so-called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a regional architecture for mutual economic partnerships between participating countries, similar to the free-trade model of the European Union.

The RCEP covers the 10 ASEAN members plus their trading partners Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, with a combined population of 3.2 billion.

The framework is expected to be endorsed by leaders at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia in November this year. It could come into effect in 2015, the same year when the ASEAN Economic Community is supposed to kick off.

Asia’s economies, increasingly concerned about the slowdown in Europe and the sluggish US recovery, are trying to counter the trend by focusing on their regional economic strength. The RCEP is expected to ease trade for all members and give regional economic integration a boost. Analysts already see a powerful trade bloc emerging that “will change the world economy significantly”, according to Ganeshan Wignaraja, an economist at the Asian Development Bank.

China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi last month said that China supports the RCEP initiative and “will work with ASEAN and other relevant parties to push forward the process to create conditions for regional economic integration”.

The RCEP has also been conceived as a new NAFTA bloc, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement covering the US, Canada and Mexico.

Apart from the RCEP, Asian countries are also speeding up Free Trade Agreement negotiations with Latin American countries, such as Chile and Peru.

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