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Asia forms world's largest trading bloc RCEP after years of talks

After signing, focus turns to ratification; China to hold sway in India's absence

SINGAPORE -- Fifteen countries spanning the Asia-Pacific region on Sunday signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, creating the world's largest trading bloc that promises to help speed up the members' post-pandemic growth.

The 15 countries are China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, along with the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Together, they account for around 30% of the world's gross domestic product and population.

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