Australia hopes the trade deal will improve its relations with China, its largest trading partner. When RCEP was signed, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared it a « victory of multilateralism and free trade. »  Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called it « a big step forward for our region » and a support for free trade and economic interdependence.  Read more: APEC Summit: Free Trade in Asia in the Age of Protectionism RCEP members account for nearly a third of the world`s population and account for nearly 30% of the world`s gross domestic product. The new free trade bloc will be more important than the agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada and the European Union.  In 2007, the combined GDP of potential RCEP members exceeded the combined GDP of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) members. It has been proposed that sustained economic growth, particularly in China and Indonesia, will contribute to the total GDP of initial RCEP membership exceeding $100 trillion by 2050, about double the size of projects in TPP economies.  On January 23, 2017, President Donald Trump signed a memorandum that removed the United States from the TPP, a measure intended to improve RCEP`s chances of success.  The dispute escalated into a trade dispute that affected a dozen Australian industries and threatened to export billions of dollars of agricultural products, timber and resources to China. The ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) entered into force in December 2008. The agreement covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment and economic cooperation. The free trade agreement provides for the elimination of tariffs on 87% of all tariff headings and provides for a dispute settlement mechanism. It also allows the back-to-back shipment of goods between Member States, the invoicing of goods by third parties and the cumulation of ASEAN.
ASEAN and Japan have also launched several economic cooperation projects that include capacity-building and technical assistance in areas of mutual interest. These include intellectual property rights, business procedures, information and communication technologies, human resource development, small and medium-sized enterprises, tourism and hospitality, transport and logistics. « It is essential that partners like China, when they make new deals like this, not only respect the details of such deals, but also act faithfully in their minds, » Birmingham told The Age newspaper. In addition to the China-India Free Trade Agreement, ASEAN also has a combined free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand, known as AANZFTA. The agreement, which will also be phased in, has eliminated tariffs on 67% of all products traded between regions and will be extended to 96% of all products by 2020. This is the first time that ASEAN has begun negotiations for a free trade agreement covering all sectors, including goods, services, investment and intellectual property rights, making it the most comprehensive trade agreement ever negotiated by ASEAN. For more details on this agreement, click here. Fifteen nations in the Asia-Pacific region have entered the world`s largest free trade agreement, which they hope will accelerate the recovery of their economies devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. . . .