Making sense of some acronyms

Apec: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

A consensus-based organisation formed in 1989 that deals with economic issues and promotes free trade. Its 21 countries account for 47 per cent of global trade. The Apec Economic Leaders' Summit takes place later this week in Manila.

FTA: Free Trade Agreement

A legally binding document committing two or more countries to reducing or eliminating trade barriers. Aims to ease the flow of goods and services.

FTAAP: Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific

Yet to be concluded. Discussions began in 2006.

It will build on existing frameworks, but involves the myriad of regional and bilateral pacts.

RCEP: Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

An FTA between Asean members and Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Viewed by Singapore as a path to regional integration, which will give home- grown businesses access to a huge market. Negotiations were expected to finish by year-end but will take more time.

TPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership

A sweeping deal struck by 12 economies on the Pacific Rim that make up 40 per cent of the world economy. Next up is a ratification process that will see it vetted by each country. The 12 signatories are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Vietnam.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 15, 2015, with the headline 'Making sense of some acronyms'. Print Edition | Subscribe