PH optimistic RCEP trade deal will conclude at 35th Asean Summit
NONTHABURI, Thailand — The Philippine government is positive that negotiations for the crafting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal will conclude at the 35th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar expressed optimism to the free trade agreement’s conclusion noting it will be an “important mechanism” for the country and the rest of the Asean countries.
“I am very optimistic that after all of the time and the money invested by the different nations especially here in Asean, parang wala na akong rason kung bakit hindi pa ito mafinalize [I see no reason why this will not be finalized] during this time. And I also understand this is one of the objectives of the chairman of Asean this year,” Andanar said Friday in a press briefing here.
Andanar pointed out the RCEP will open up the Asean’s market to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China and India.
RCEP is a 16-country trade deal between Asean-member states and China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
“The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a very important mechanism for the Philippines and the rest of Asean to compete in the world economy, especially Asean, we are limited to strong 600 million market,” Andanar said.
“But once the RCEP is signed, and once it is being implemented then automatically, we drastically open our 600 million market to about 3.5 billion which includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, China and India,” he added.
RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 during the Asean Summit in Cambodia.
A special ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting on RCEP will be held during the 35th Summit in Thailand. /jpv
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