Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and leaders of other countries attend the signing ceremony of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement after the fourth RCEP Summit, which is held via video link, on Nov 15, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]
>World's biggest trade pact
After eight years of negotiations, 15 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the world's biggest trade pact, a move considered a massive coup for regional economic integration, multilateralism and free trade.
The agreement involves all 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and five of its major trading partners - China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The RCEP agreement covers a market of 2.2 billion people, or almost 30% of the world's population, with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion, or about 30% of global GDP.
It is an unprecedented regional trading arrangement that comprises a diverse mix of developed, developing and least developed economies in the region, according to a joint statement issued by leaders of the participating countries.
The agreement "is critical to the region's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will play an important role in building the region's resilience through an inclusive and sustainable post-pandemic economic recovery process," leaders said in the statement.
>China widens antitrust rules
The State Administration for Market Regulation recently unveiled proposals that include guidelines on how anti-monopoly measures should be applied to internet companies.
The authority is seeking reviews and feedback on the proposals from the public through Nov 30.
Dong Yizhi, a lawyer at Shanghai Joint Win Law Firm, said the draft rules reiterate that internet platform companies, including e-commerce marketplaces, must not abuse their dominant position to force merchants to "choose one platform over others" and block fair competition.
The antitrust regulations are aimed at promoting fair and free competition in the market and promoting innovation, he said. The regulations target unfair pricing, below-cost and tie-in sales, restricted transactions and other unreasonable trading conditions. It would also consider whether a transaction treats different customers differently based on big data, payment ability, consumption preferences and usage habits, Dong said.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, with the Crew Dragon capsule, is launched carrying four astronauts on the first operational NASA commercial crew mission at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, US November 15, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]