ASIA - World’s Biggest Trade Bloc Formed

Arno Froese

Fifteen Asia-Pacific economies formed the world’s largest free trade bloc, a China-backed deal that excludes the United States, which had left a rival Asia-Pacific grouping under President Donald Trump.

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at a regional summit in Hanoi, is a further blow to the group pushed by former U.S. president Barack Obama, which his successor Trump exited in 2017.

Amid questions over Washington’s engagement in Asia, RCEP may cement China’s position more firmly as an economic partner with Southeast Asia, Japan and Korea, putting the world’s second-biggest economy in a better position to shape the region’s trade rules.

The deal was signed on the sidelines of an online ASEAN summit held as Asian leaders address tensions in the South China Sea and tackle plans for a post-pandemic economic recovery in a region where U.S.-China rivalry has been rising.

In an unusual ceremony, held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaders of RCEP countries took turns standing behind their trade ministers who, one by one, signed copies of the agreement, which they then showed triumphantly to the cameras.

RCEP will account for 30% of the global economy, 30% of the global population and reach 2.2 billion consumers, Vietnam said.

RCEP “will help reduce or remove tariffs on industrial and agricultural products and set out rules for data transmission,” said Luong Hoang Thai, head of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department at Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.

-www.reuters.com, 14 November 2020

Arno's commentary

China is considered the second largest economy in the world. Chinese sources reveal that they are number one already—and, we must add, significantly growing year by year. 

Reuters, from its Zurich office, writes, “The number of rich Chinese has surpassed the count of wealthy Americans for the first time as both countries keep churning out millionaires, a study by Credit Suisse showed.”

Interestingly, communist China is superseding all other nations when it comes to creating millionaires. Will that last? One thing is clear: Asia in the East will rise at a faster pace than America in the West. In between these two power structures lies Europe, which has not yet lived up to its full potential. Presently, the 27 member nations of the EU could increase to over 40 in the not-too-distant future.

What does it mean biblically? Unity at all costs. That’s the only way the nations can avoid military conflicts on the one hand; and on the other, to create a world we read of in Genesis 11:4: “And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” 

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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