Japan cabinet okays bill to ratify RCEP trade deal

The 4th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Summit being held during the Asean summit in Hanoi on Nov 15, 2020. - AFP

TOKYO (Xinhua): Japan's cabinet on Wednesday (Feb 24) gave the green light for a bill to ratify a free trade deal (FTA) signed last year by 15 Asia-Pacific countries.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which will cover a third of global trade and population, making it the world's largest FTA, will become the "foundation of trade in Asia," Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama told a press conference on the matter.

"To establish a desirable economic order in the region through the steady implementation of this agreement, I hope that it will be approved by parliament at an early date," Kajiyama also said.

The trade deal was signed last November and will see tariffs eliminated on 91 per cent of goods, with standardized rules pertaining to investment, intellectual property and e-commerce.

The RCEP groups the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

After the agreement is ratified by six Asean members and three non-Asean signatory countries, the RCEP will come into effect.

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