A new trade agreement covering about 30 percent of the global economy has been signed. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) includes China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, and 10 Southeast Asian economies. It’s the world’s largest in terms of the amount of gross product covered, slightly above the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) according to most estimates. About 2.1 billion people reside in member nations. India is not in the deal at this point but can join at a later date.

It’s been a long time in the making, with negotiations dragging on for about eight years. With the coronavirus pandemic causing economic dislocations worldwide, however, there was an even greater incentive to get it done (though member nations still have to ratify

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