Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said the trade deal member countries gave their mandate to the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee to reach a conclusion, especially on technical details when they sit down for their final round meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam Sept 19 to 27.
“All 16 Asean and dialogue partners’ countries supported the conclusion of RCEP this year. They agreed to finalise the talk as scheduled amidst their concerns on uncertainties in trade and the global economy,” he said at a press conference at the end of the 51st Asean Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) and Related Meetings here today.
Jurin said the economic ministers would wrap-up the RCEP talks in November during the Asean Summit in Bangkok.
The deal is likely to be signed next year if negotiations could be finalised at the summit.
The RCEP negotiations were launched during the 21st Asean Summit in November 2012 in Phnom Penh. The trade pact is between ten Asean member states - Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and its six FTA partners namely, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
The trade pact comprises a population of 3.4 billion with a total gross domestic product (GDP) of US$49.5 trillion, or about 39 percent of the world’s GDP.
It was reported that about 80 percent of the agreement was completed with negotiations on content in financial, telecommunication and professional services.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement after the 22nd Asean Economic Ministers Meeting (AEM) Plus Three Consultations (China, Japan, Korea) today, the economic ministers welcomed the strong interest of members of the East Asia Business Council on the progress of negotiations on RCEP, and its recommendations for improving trade facilitation and supply chain connectivity in the region to ensure smooth implementation of RCEP.
“The Ministers reaffirmed their support for enhanced regional economic integration. In this regard, the ministers welcomed the progress in the negotiations RCEP and reiterated their full support towards the conclusion in 2019 as mandated by the RCEP Leaders, to create a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial agreement.
“They underscored the importance of multilateralism and regionalism in contributing to global and regional peace, stability and prosperity,” it said.