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The long-awaited free trade agreement signed Sunday between 15 Asia-Pacific countries after eight years of talks reflect their determination to strengthen economic unity and promote free trade, regardless of political differences, as questions loom over how U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will engage with the region.

Japan hopes the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes China and South Korea and represents 30% of the world’s trade and population, will encourage the United States to return to a multilateral trade framework.

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