The Philippines has an “irreplaceable” role in the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, especially since Manila holds the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) this year, the Department of Finance (DoF) said.
In a statement on Monday, the DoF noted a visiting high-level Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Wang Yang has underscored the crucial role that the Philippines will play in RCEP agreement.
In his meeting with Cabinet officials led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd in Davao City over the weekend, Wang cited “the Philippines’ irreplaceable role in the discussions of RCEP and highlighted that ‘Asean centrality’ will be crucial to the conclusion of the agreement,” the DoF said.
Wang also expressed China’s support for the Philippines’ chairmanship of the Asean, which is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year.
Wang emphasized at the meeting that China considers the Asean as a “diplomatic priority” and that the Philippines, as chair of the regional bloc this year, will “make a big contribution in the regional cooperation,” According to the DoF.
“Secretary Dominguez responded that together with China, the Asean can lead growth in the regional economic front that is not only a rapid one but inclusive to all members of society,” the DoF said.
“We look forward to continue the discussions on the promotion of free trade partnership via the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership where China is also taking the lead. We are very much optimistic for its early conclusion which would help us further diversify our export markets,” Dominguez was quoted as saying at
The RCEP negotiations were launched by leaders from the 10 Asean member-states (Brunei Darussalam,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) and six Asean free trade partners (Australia, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand) during the 21st Asean Summit and Related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2012.
Its membership of 16 Asian countries account for almost half of the world’s population, almost 30 percent of global gross domestic product and over a quarter of world exports.
It covers trade in goods and services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property rights, competition policy, and dispute settlement, among other issues. It does not cover labor, environment and state-owned enterprises.