The trade agreement allows China – by far the largest economy and the most populous country in the region – to call itself “a champion of globalization and multilateral cooperation,” Gareth Leather, Asia`s chief capital economic economist, said in a report. Fifteen nations in the Asia-Pacific region have concluded the world`s largest free trade agreement, which they hope will accelerate the recovery of their economies devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. ASEAN leaders said they intend to continue expanding trade with India and that the door remains open in New Delhi to join the bloc. The free trade agreement reduced tariffs to 7,881 product categories, or 90% of imported products at zero.  This reduction came into effect in China and in the original six ASEAN members: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. The other four countries are expected to follow in 2015.  The first step involved the first six signatories who, until 2010, committed to abolishing their tariffs on 90% of their products.  Between 2003 and 2008, trade with ASEAN increased from $59.6 billion to $192.5 billion.  China`s transformation into a major economic power in the 21st century has led to an increase in foreign investment in the bamboo network, with a network of Overseas Chinese companies operating in Southeast Asian markets and sharing family and cultural ties.   In 2008, ASEAN members and the People`s Republic of China had a nominal gross domestic product of about $6 trillion.   The framework agreement was signed on 4 November 2002 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, by eleven heads of government. : Hassanal Bolkiah (Sultan of Brunei Darussalam), Hun Sen (Prime Minister of Cambodia), Megawati Soekarnoputri (President of Indonesia), Bounnhang Vorachith (Prime Minister of Laos), Mahathir bin Mohamad (Prime Minister Minister of Malaysia), Than Sh (Prime Minister of Burma), Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (President of the Philippines), Goh Chok Tong (Prime Minister of Singapore), Thaksin Shinawatra (Prime Minister of Thailand), Phan Ven Khi (Prime Minister of Vietnam) , Zhu Rongji (Prime Minister of the State Council of the People`s Republic of China).
 Ten ASEAN countries and five other Asia-Pacific countries have signed the world`s largest trade agreement on GDP. The pact is expected to boost economic growth in a region hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.