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China, ASEAN move ahead on third free trade deal

China and ASEAN member-states are advancing negotiations on a third iteration of a free trade agreement, announced China's top diplomat, Wang Yi, at an ASEAN summit in Jakarta. The two entities are aiming for the comprehensive implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's largest trade bloc, backed by China. The RCEP, covering roughly a third of the global population, went into effect on January 1, 2022. Amidst the deepening regional economic integration, bilateral trade between China and ASEAN, which are each other's largest trading partners, is projected to continue its positive trend. Despite a 1.5% year-on-year drop, the two-way trade value reached USD447.3bn from January to June, as per the customs data.


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