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China and ASEAN push for timely RCEP start as Jan. 1 looms

Many signers far behind in steps to bring the agreement into effect

The skyline of Singapore's central business district shines at dusk, with the PSA international port terminal in the foreground. The country is one of the few to have already implemented the necessary procedures for the RCEP.   © Reuters

TOKYO/SINGAPORE/BEIJING -- Countries that have signed on to the East Asia-spanning RCEP trade deal are going full speed ahead with plans to implement it on Jan. 1, 2022, despite foot-dragging by a majority, with China and ASEAN especially keen, for their own reasons, on seeing the pact come into force soon.

China, Japan, South Korea, and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were among the 15 countries that signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership this past November to form the world's largest free trade bloc.

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