15 Countries Completed RCEP “Text-based” Negotiations
Date 4 November 2019
Leaders of 15 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) participating countries have concluded “text-based” negotiations for all chapters in creating the largest free trade bloc in ASEAN and the surrounding regions.
“They have concluded both text-based negotiations and essentially all their market access issues,” Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi said in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday (4/11).
Hence, the Minister added, the RCEP agreement’s formal signing is expected to start in 2020. “After today’s meeting, they will conduct legal scrubbing for the signing in 2020,” she added.
The Minister also said that India has significant outstanding issues during the RCEP negotiation. However the remaining RCEP participating countries will cooperate to resolve that issues which will mutually be beneficial for both parties, she added.
For the record, the RCEP negotiation was initiated by ASEAN leaders and six other countries at the 21st ASEAN Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2012.
The partnership aims at creating modern, comprehensive, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among 10 ASEAN countries and six Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, among others, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, and New Zealand.
RCEP will be the largest free-trade agreement in the world, which potentially includes half of the world’s population, about 40 percent of the world trade and 35 percent of the global GDP.
Joining President Jokowi during the RCEP Summit were among others Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung, Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi, and Minister of Trade Agus Suparmanto. (SLN/RAH/ES)
Translated by : Rany Anjany Subachrum
Edited by : M. Ersan Pamungkas