Japan approves world’s biggest free-trade deal after China’s call to boost Asian economy



Wendy Wu | South China Morning Post

Japan’s parliament approved joining the world’s largest free-trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, on Wednesday as signatories aim for it to come into effect from the start of next year.

The approval by Japan’s upper house comes after the lower house gave the green light earlier this month and a day after China called for the deal to be ratified to shore up the economy in the Asia-Pacific.

The China-backed RCEP was signed in November last year and included the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. By eliminating tariffs on 91 per cent of goods, the RCEP will create a free-trade zone covering nearly one-third of the world’s economy, trade and population.

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