Business & Economy

Japan approves world’s largest free-trade pact

Tokyo, Apr 28 (EFE).- Japan’s parliament on Wednesday approved the country’s participation in the world’s largest free-trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), signed by 15 Asia-Pacific countries in November.

Japan’s Diet finalized the procedures to ratify the trade deal – the first to date that brings together Tokyo with both Beijing, Japan’s main trading partner, and South Korea, its third largest.

Tokyo expects the agreement to boost the country’s GDP by 2.7 percent and create some 570,000 jobs.

Parliamentary approval of the pact in Japan follows those of Thailand, China and Singapore, although only the latter two countries have fully completed the ratification process.

The treaty is seen as a platform that sustains China’s strength as an economic power in the Asia-Pacific region, to the detriment of the United States.

The agreement will eliminate import tariffs on 91 percent of goods within two decades of its entry into force, and will establish common rules on investment, electronic commerce and intellectual property.

The GDP of the signatory countries is equivalent to 30 percent of the global economy, while the agreement represents about 28 percent of world trade and a market of about 2.2 billion people, around a third of the world’s population.

RCEP will enter into force 60 days after it is ratified by at least six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and three of its external partners – Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

ASEAN is made up of Myanmar, Brunei, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. EFE

mra/tw

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