Industry and trade minister Trần Tuấn Anh (middle) seen at the opening of RCEP's last round of talks in Đà Nẵng on September 23. — VGP Photo.
ĐÀ NẴNG — The final round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – a trade agreement between the ten member states of ASEAN and its six partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea – will focus on resolving issues and reaching mutual ground on market openness, trade freedom for goods and services as well as investment.
More than ever, the closer the deal gets to the finish line the greater political will required from RCEP’s sides to find solutions to remaining obstacles, said Vietnamese Minister of Investment and Planning Trần Tuấn Anh at the opening ceremony of the last round of talks for the partnership on Monday in the central city of Đà Nẵng.
He said the talks will focus on finding ways to overcome technical barriers before submitting the draft of the trade partnership to leaders of respective countries. As the host of this round of talks and the Chair of ASEAN in 2020, Việt Nam will strive to support a deal which ensures a harmonious balance between RCEP countries, as well as the region.
ASEAN General Secretary Dato Lim Jock Hoi has expressed optimism over the likelihood that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between 10 ASEAN member countries and six partners will be finalised by the end of the year, reported Việt Nam News at the ASEAN Media Forum held in Bangkok on July 29.
Dr Hoe Ee Khor, Chief Economist of ASEAN+3 Macro Economic Research Office, said if ASEAN countries and dialogue partners can finalise the RCEP, it will be a very strong signal of commitment to rules-based multilateral trade amidst the rising trend of protectionism and nationalism.
RCEP’s final round of talk, also its 28th round since the trade deal’s initiation in 2012, will conclude on September 27.
Once in effect, RCEP is expected to become the world’s largest regional trade agreement as it covers a market the size of almost half of the world’s population, 30 per cent of global gross domestic product, 29 per cent of global trade and 32.5 per cent of global investment flow.
Countries have pledged to open their doors to goods and services, investments and to simplify custom protocols as well as to demolish barriers and facilitate trade in the interest of developing value chains that spur the growth of the global economy and RCEP’s members. — VNS