HIGH quality and high standard well-balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (RCEP) must be concluded as soon as possible, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa said during the General Membership Meeting of the Makati Business Club (MBC) on Friday.
“We are asking our members of RCEP groups that we need to create a very high quality, high standard well-balanced RCEP. It should be concluded as soon as possible, but substance is is more important than timing,” Ishikawa said.
In February, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) saw the ongoing negotiations with Asean +6 (RCEP) approved by November 2017.
“Hopefully, a major agreement by November at the latest. We just want to give our attention here to strengthen the regional grouping of Asean and RCEP, because we want a milestone. At least, during our chairmanship, there’s an agreement for this new RCEP arrangement. We see the urgency and optimism,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
The RCEP negotiations are ongoing to consolidate the Asean +6 free trade agreements (FTAs).
“If the members of the Asean did not agree on the 92 percent, or 88 percent on the tariff, for the RCEP, we will offer them to meet halfway just to get through with the agreement,” Lopez said.
The RCEP is an economic partnership among the 10-member Asean, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The 10-member Asean consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.