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Asia Insight

RCEP: Asia races against clock to save trade deal of the decade

Japan-South Korea rift and India-China rivalry complicate talks

MASAYUKI YUDA and KIRAN SHARMA, Nikkei staff writers | Thailand

BANGKOK/NEW DELHI -- When the clock struck 9 a.m. in Bangkok on Sept. 8, ministers from 16 countries were supposed to sit down to hammer out details of the world's biggest trade deal -- the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Thailand, as the chair of this year's Association of Southeast Asian Nations meetings, was eager to make tangible progress so that an agreement can be signed at the ASEAN Summit in November. But even though there was no time to waste, the meeting was delayed for more than five hours because the attendees were busy doing one thing: persuading India.

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