21:37 GMT18 September 2020
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    Overlapping international free trade deals may eventually liberalize trade across the entire Asian region.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova — Overlapping "mega deals" on free trade may eventually liberalize trade across the entire Asian region, the head of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) office for North and Central Asia told Sputnik Saturday.

    There are multiple trade pacts in the works in Asia, with nations taking part in several talks at once, including the notorious US-dominated transpacific TPP deal, its rival RCEP that includes China, Asia-Pacific's FTAAP, and Russia's Eurasian Economic Union.

    "If all these mega agreements do the same, then we'll see that all these trade liberalization processes that are taking place in one agreement can instigate trade liberalization in other trade agreements," Tiziana Bonapace said.

    President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China
    © Sputnik / Sergey Guneev
    Speaking on the margins of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Russia, Bonapace said that almost all members of these trade associations are members of the World Trade Organization, which requires them to lower tariff barriers for external partners.

    "As long as there is some convergence… in the rules that are being negotiated under each mega trade initiative, then I think the trade initiatives can be mutually supportive. And one of the key contributors of ensuring that all these trade initiatives evolve in a way that is trade-creating is that there are WTO rules," the UN official said.

    Concerns have recently been raised that US-spearheaded free trade deals with the Asia-Pacific would bypass WTO rules and give the upper hand to multinationals over national trade regulations.

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    St.Petersburg International Economic Forum 2016 (38)

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    free trade, liberalization, St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2016, World Trade Organization (WTO), Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)
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