Australia’s Prime Minister has signed the nation up to one of the largest trade deals in history.
15 countries agreed to the new ‘Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at the ASEAN summit last year.
But, they were set to make the agreement official late last night during a virtual meeting.
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Australia joins China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in the RECP.
The regional free-trade agreement is now larger than the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement after Donald Trump pulled the United States out of it.
It’s taken at least eight years for countries to negotiate, and is worth nearly $30 trillion dollars.
Australia’s Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says it’s very good news for farmers.
“The real benefits here are two-fold — one is for our farmers and exporters, they get a more common set of rules across all 15 nations.
“The other is for our services export industry, they get significant new access across financial, banking, aged care, health care, education and other types of services industries, right into the provision of architectural, engineering or planning services.
“This is about making sure that we have the opportunity for that part of the economy, the services industry, to be able to grow and be able to get the same type of uplift in trade benefits across the region that our goods exporters have had over recent years,” Mr Birmingham said.
It’s hoped the agreement will improve battered trade relations between Australia and China in particular.