1 Jan 2010

China - ASEAN free trade area to take effect

11:00 am on 1 January 2010

A new free trade area to rival the EU and the North American Free Trade Area comes into operation on 1 January.

It will consist of China and six founding members of the Association of South East Asian Nations - Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei.

The BBC reports the agreement will see the elimination of tariffs on 90% of their traded goods.

In terms of population, it will be the largest trade area in the world with nearly 1.9 billion people.