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RCEP members look to catch up following TPP agreement

The RCEP consists of China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations

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Chief negotiators from the 16 countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will meet Friday in Indonesia with an eye toward accelerating progress on the proposed trade pact in response to last month’s deal on the 11-member Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The talks in Yogyakarta on the island of Java, scheduled to run until Feb. 9, will cover such issues as the list of items on which to reduce or eliminate tariffs, protections for foreign companies’ investments and free movement of labor.

The RCEP consists of China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It would create a free trade area covering roughly half the world’s population and some 30% of its gross domestic product and total trade.

Negotiations on the deal began in 2013, but disagreements on how far it should go have yet to be settled.

Member countries that also participate in the TPP, such as Japan and Australia, favor more ambitious steps to lower tariffs and other trade barriers, while China and other nations remain wary of greater liberalization.

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Economics

China’s new three-child policy highlights risks of aging across emerging Asia

Thailand’s (Baa1 stable) total dependency ratio is set to jump nine percentage points to 51% by 2030 – a faster increase than China’s – which will pressure public and private savings through higher taxes and social spending, reducing innovation and productivity gains.

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Street vendor in Bangkok

Population aging in China (A1 stable) and other emerging markets in Asia will hurt economic growth, competitiveness and fiscal revenue, unless productivity gains accelerate, according to a new report by Moody’s Investors Service.

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China

Clear skies over Asia’s new foreign investment landscape?

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Compounding the fallout of the US–China trade war, the global pandemic and recession have caused considerable speculation on the future of foreign investment and global value chains (GVCs). But though there is likely to be some permanent change, it will probably not be as great as politicians expect.

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