Asean-led free trade deal pushed back to 2019



The Straits Times Staff | The Straits Times

Asean-led free trade deal pushed back to 2019

SINGAPORE (AFP) – An Asean-led bid to complete the world’s largest trade deal – without the United States – was pushed back to 2019¬†after Asia-Pacific trade ministers failed to agree on key terms at a Singapore summit.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), covering half the world’s population, is billed as an antidote to President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda, which has seen tariffs imposed on almost half of all Chinese imports to the US – and retaliatory levies by Beijing.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is attending a Singapore summit to rally support for the deal, said he hoped the RCEP would be signed and implemented next year.

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