15 countries sign trade deal without India

NHK -- Nov 16
Leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific nations have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, a huge free economic zone.

The ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations along with Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand approved the deal at an online summit on Sunday. The partnership covers about 30 percent of the world's population and GDP.

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide told the summit that Japan has consistently taken the initiative to expand a free and fair economic zone and maintain and strengthen the multilateral free trade system. He stressed that promoting free trade is even more important at a time when the global economy is stagnant and inward-looking due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Negotiations on the agreement began in 2012. India was part of the original discussions but declined to sign out of concern about a possible negative impact of low tariffs on domestic industries.

Ministers of the 15 countries that did sign have issued a declaration saying they remain open to India joining after RCEP comes into force.

- NHK

RCEP(東アジア地域包括的経済連携)の首脳会議が開かれ、日本をはじめ、15カ国が署名しました。  RCEPは日本や中国、韓国とASEAN(東南アジア諸国連合)、オセアニアの合わせて15カ国が参加し、関税の撤廃や削減、電子商取引などのルールを整備する協定です。輸入についてはコメや牛肉などの「重要5品目」は関税撤廃の対象となりませんが、中国からの加工野菜などは段階的に撤廃されます。一方で、自動車部品や中国向けの日本酒、ホタテ貝など関税が撤廃される品目が増え、日本企業の輸出には追い風になりそうです。去年、交渉から離脱したインドを除く15カ国での合意となりましたが、世界の人口やGDP(国内総生産)の約3割をカバーする協定となります。 - ANNnewsCH