Economic ministers from member states of ASEAN discussed orientations to speed up the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), at a meeting in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city on March 11.
At the meeting
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh, who chaired the event, said the 10 member countries are striving to sign the deal at the end of 2020.
Currently, among the stakeholders, only India has yet to reach an agreement on opening its market for partner countries, he said.
ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi called on ASEAN economic officials to double efforts to boost the signing of the agreement.
At the ASEAN Summit in 2019, the countries’ leaders set a goal of signing the RCEP in 2020, he said, adding that he hoped after this meeting, the involved parties could finalise all necessary documents in May and ink the deal at the end of the year.
Launched in November 2012, the RCEP consists of 10 ASEAN member countries –Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and six ASEAN partners – China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.
Once signed, the deal will create the largest free trade area in the world with about 3.5 billion people and making up 30 percent of the global GDP./.VNA