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Japan teams with RCEP allies to push China on data free flow

'League of partners' sets the tone for TPP and future deals

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at the opening ceremony of the China International Fair for Trade in Services in September.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- China's decision to join 14 other Asia-Pacific nations to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership last month was unquestionably an attempt to fill the vacuum left by a protectionist U.S. and be at the table writing the rules of the road for global trade.

In doing so, Beijing chose to promote trade with its Asian neighbors through RCEP, even if it meant pain for its domestic industry through a reduction or elimination of tariffs. It is also the first trade agreement that binds China to rules for digital commerce, which could potentially clip its wings in controlling the data that flows in and out of the country.

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