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Asian Free Trade Proposal Is Broad in Scope, Narrow in Focus

Mar 25, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Leaders of the 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership assemble for a group photo on Nov. 14, 2018, in Singapore.

Leaders of the 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership assemble for a group photo on Nov. 14, 2018, in Singapore. The proposed trade agreement seeks to integrate the economies of Southeast Asia with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

(ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

For all it encompasses -- 16 countries, almost half the world's population and a third of its economic output -- the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership's boost to trade will remain modest as long as it sidesteps nontariff barriers....

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