15 Asia-Pacific countries form world's largest trading bloc
China and 14 other countries in the Asia-Pacific region on Sunday formed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Why it matters: The RCEP is the world's biggest free trading bloc, accounting for almost a third of all economic activity.
- The nations aim for the pact to "mitigate the crippling cost of the coronavirus and ease financial pain," per a statement from Vietnam's government, from where the leaders' online summit was hosted.
Of note: The agreement will see "already low" trade tariffs between member nations progressively reduce further, though it's "less comprehensive" than the Trans-Pacific Partnership that President Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2017, AP notes.
The big picture: The signatories comprise the leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.