Tokyo, Feb. 24 (Jiji Press)–The Japanese government adopted at a cabinet meeting Wednesday a plan to approve a deal to forge the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which was agreed on by Japan and 14 other nations in November last year.
Under the deal, which will create the world’s largest free trade area accounting for some 30 pct of global gross domestic product and trade, tariffs will be abolished for 91 pct of products, mainly industrial products.
Having signed the deal besides Japan are China, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
RCEP will be Japan’s first economic partnership agreement with China or South Korea.
The pact will come into force after necessary domestic procedures are completed in at least six of the ASEAN member states and three other countries.
Initially, 16 countries, including India, were involved in RCEP negotiations. But India decided to pull out of the free trade framework due to concerns over a possible influx of cheap Chinese goods.