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Last November, India announced it was pulling out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, mainly over fears that its agricultural sector would be swamped with imports. (Illustration by Hiroko Oshima)
Asia Insight

Japan and Australia wary of China as RCEP talks enter last stretch

Economic fallout from COVID-19 gives impetus to negotiations on trade megadeal

SHOTARO TANI and TAKAKO GAKUTO, Nikkei staff writers | Southeast Asia

JAKARTA/TOKYO/SYDNEY -- There's videoconferencing, and then there's trying to hammer out the world's biggest trade deal remotely.

"We've gotten used to negotiating online," said a government official from one of the 15 Asia-Pacific countries involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. "Having said that, meeting online is different from meeting in person. Negotiations are much harder. The informal meetings on the sidelines were really important to get things done."

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