Fifteen Asian and Pacific countries have signed world's biggest free trade deal. It is called Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). countries include 10 Southeast Asian economies along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. These countries account for around 30 per cent of global economy. The idea for RCEP started in 2012. governments have been talking to each other since then. China was key in pushing deal forward to help economies during coronavirus pandemic. economics expert said: "COVID-19 has reminded region of why trade matters and governments are more eager than ever to have positive economic growth."
Leaders of 15 governments believe free trade deal will help their countries and Asia-Pacific region. Chinese Premier said: "The fact RCEP has been signed after eight years of negotiations brings ray of light and hope amid the clouds." He added: "It clearly shows that multilateralism is right way, and represents the right direction of global economy and humanity's progress." South Korea said: "We believe that RCEP, being the world's largest free trade arrangement, represents important step forward toward ideal framework of global trade and investment." It said deal included, "a diverse mix of developed, developing and least developed economies."