14 nations sign biggest free trade agreement

Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations including China aim to clinch the world’s largest free-trade agreement recently, the culmination of Beijing’s decade-long quest for greater economic integration with a region that encompasses nearly a third of the global gross domestic product.

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes countries stretching from Japan to Australia and New Zealand, aims to reduce tariffs, strengthen supply chains with common rules of origin, and codify new e-commerce rules. Its passage may disadvantage some US companies and other multinationals outside the zone, particularly after President Donald Trump withdrew from talks on a separate Asia-Pacific trade deal formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.