Singapore: Nations have political will to finalise RCEP in 2018
Updated : Saturday, March 03, 2018 9:18 AM (GMT+0700)

Countriesengaged in negotiations over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership(RCEP) have a “strong political will” to conclude the talks by the end of 2018,Singaporean Minister of Trade Lim Hng Kiang said.

RCEP nations agree to conclude the deal this year - Source: EPA/VNA

The talks on the RCEP werelaunched in 2012 and are expected to create a free trade area with billions ofconsumers.

The ten-member Associationof Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is participating in the negotiations alongwith Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea.

The RCEP and theComprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP),which is expected to be signed on March 8 in Chile, offered “pathways” towardan eventual free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific, said Lim.

With the signing of theCPTPP, one of the pathways will become operational, Lim said, following atwo-day meeting of ASEAN economic ministers.

The RCEP participatingcountries are conscious that they should try and conclude the RCEP negotiationsso that all the Asia-Pacific economies can participate, he commented.

The RCEP is considered anextended trade agreement of the ASEAN nations and their partners, whichtogether account for 50 percent of the global population and 39 percent of theworld’s gross domestic product (GDP).


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