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Asia Forms a China-backed Trade Bloc, Excluding the U.S.

Fifteen Asia-Pacific economies formed the world’s largest free-trade bloc. The China-backed deal, signed on Nov. 15, excluded the United States. President Donald Trump left a rival Asia Pacific group.

Asian leaders signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at a regional summit in Hanoi, Vietnam. RCEP may cement China’s status as an economic partner with Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea. This partnership places the world’s second-largest economy in an advantageous position to form the region’s trade laws.

The United States is omitted from RCEP and the successor to the Obama-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This leaves the world’s largest economy out of two trade groups comprising of the fastest-growing region on Earth.

On the other hand, RCEP could help Beij…

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