China and 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region on Sunday formed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership that excludes the U.S., which pulled out of an earlier trade partnership under President Trump.
Why it matters: RCEP is the world's biggest free trading bloc, accounting for almost a third of all economic activity.
#ASEAN2020VN #CohesiveAndResponsive— Viet Nam Government Portal (@VNGovtPortal) November 15, 2020
This morning, economic ministers from 10 @ASEAN member States and Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership #RCEP after 8 years of negotiationshttps://t.co/BRfzchZ03G pic.twitter.com/zdlD8Mf2rd
- The nations aim for the pact to "mitigate the crippling cost of the coronavirus and ease financial pain," per a statement from Vietnam's government, from where the leaders' online summit was hosted.
Of note: The agreement will see "already low" trade tariffs between member nations progressively reduce further, though it's "less comprehensive" than the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord that Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2017, AP notes.
The big picture: The signatories comprise the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.