Asian Leaders Launch Free Trade Talks

Member states of ASEAN plus regional partners China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand


Asian leaders launched their long-expected free trade area talks Tuesday, one step closer to broaden the economic reach of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and ease the bloc's reliance on the struggling West.

The official launch of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was made by leaders from ten ASEAN nations and its six dialog partners, namely China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, after the conclusion of the 7th East Asia Summit (EAS).