Containers are piled high at a port in Qingdao in eastern China's Shandong province Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. (Chinatopix via AP)
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A China-backed bid to complete the world's largest trade deal without the United States was pushed back to next year after Asia-Pacific trade ministers failed to agree several key terms at a Singapore summit. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, covering half the world's population, is billed as an antidote to President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda, which has seen tariffs imposed on almost half of all Chinese imports to the U.S. and retaliatory levies by Beijing.Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is attending a Singapore summit to rally support for the deal, said he hoped RCEP would be signed and implemented next year.China was now the standard bearer of global free trade, he added, with the RCEP a sweeping 16-country deal that includes China, Japan, India and the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the heart of its strategy.The TPP is still alive even without Washington, but RCEP is now the world's biggest trade deal.
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