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China's durian boom sparks ASEAN alarm over mega trade deal

RCEP boosts Southeast Asian exports, but sustainability is questionable

The wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, China, is a popular tourist destination. Piles of durians are sold out in a day.   © Yuri Momoi

BEIJING -- Durian, Southeast Asia's "King of Fruits," is booming in China, where it has already become the country's top fruit import item in terms of volume and value.

The upsurge is being accelerated by the new Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which has made it easier for China to import fresh fruits from Southeast Asian nations. It is also becoming a test case on how to include the country in a mega free-trade framework.

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