Phnom Penh, Cambodia
20 November 2012

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN, China, Japan and South Korea, along with India, Australia and New Zealand, officially kicked off the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the last day of the 21st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits in Phnom Penh.

The effort that is another step in widening the Asia-Pacific region into a tariff-free zone would create the world’s largest free-trade area in a region of more than three billion people.

RCEP negotiations are expected to commence in 2013 and be completed by 2015.