Asean eyes early conclusion of RCEP pact


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) remains committed to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal at the soonest possible time, said the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

“In fact, there is an Asean commitment to really fast track RCEP. It’s more just Asean, we have to deal with our external partners to complete the negotiations,” DFA spokesman Robespierre Bolivar told reporters.

Bolivar said there was impetus to finish the regional agreement amid current developments.

He identified current issues important to the region, including the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), North Korean issue and terrorism which is “becoming more and more frequent.”

RCEP aims to link Asean, an economic powerhouse with a market of 600 million people, to its six partner countries, creating a bigger market of 3.5 billion people. These are Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, with which Asean has free trade agreements (FTAs).

It targets for an FTA in goods and services as well as liberalizing flow of investments among the 10 Asean members and its FTA partners.

Bolivar said leaders of Asean members will discuss wide-ranging cooperation, including those in the economic sphere, including RCEP, when they meet here next week.

The country will host the 30th Asean Summit and Related Meetings from April 26 to 29. The summit proper will be held on the last day at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The Philippines chairs the Asean Summit 2017, which marks Asean’s 50th founding anniversary. It will also host the 31st Asean Summit in November.

Asean groups the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


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  1. Asean’s dream of early conclusion of RCEP can only be achieved if India, which has demanded other participating nations to open up their domestic job markets to Indian IT people b4 india agreeing to sign the FTA , is kicked out from this RCEP talk.

    In view of RCEP participating nations Aust NZ and Spore, which have already slammed the door on Indian IT cheats with fake degree and work experience, it is very difficult for other nations to achieve success if India continues to be involved in the talk.