After the first six signatories reached their target by 2010, the CLMV countries (Cambodia, PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam) pursued the same customs policy, with the same goal to be achieved by 2015.  In 2010, the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area became the largest free trade area in terms of population and the third largest in nominal GDP. It was also the third volume of trade after the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Area.   China first proposed the idea of a free trade area in November 2000. The leaders of ASEAN and China therefore decided to discuss economic integration measures in the region the following year In Brunei, they supported the creation of an ASEAN-China free trade area.  It will take time for the exact details of the agreement, which includes tariff plans and rules for the 15 countries concerned, to be fully evaluated – the tariff plan for Japan is 1,334 pages. China`s official Xinhua news agency quoted Premier Li Keqiang, who called the agreement a victory against protectionism, in a communication via video link. The agreement excludes the United States, which withdrew from an Asia-Pacific trade pact in 2017. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang celebrated the signing of the agreement in a speech at the summit, saying: “The signing of the RCEP is not only a milestone in East Asian regional cooperation, but also a victory for multilateralism and free trade.” Under the RCEP, the parts of all Member States would be treated in the same way, which could encourage companies in RCEP countries to look for suppliers in the commercial region. Read more: APEC Summit: Free Trade in Asia in the Age of Protectionism Ten ASEAN countries and five other Asia-Pacific countries have signed the world`s largest trade agreement on GDP.
The pact is expected to boost economic growth in a region hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. ASEAN leaders said they intend to continue expanding trade with India and that the door remains open in New Delhi to join the bloc. Critics of free trade agreements say they tend to encourage companies to relocate manufacturing jobs abroad. After winning disgruntled rust belt voters in the November 3 elections in Michigan and western Pennsylvania, Biden “will not waste it by returning to tPP,” Michael Jonathan Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said at a web-based seminar.