The 10 leaders of ASEAN and six partner countries — China, Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand — signed a joint declaration for the launch of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last night in Phnom Penh during the 21st ASEAN Summit.
According to the declaration, the RCEP’s goal is to achieve a comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement establishing an open trade and investment environment in the region to facilitate the expansion of regional trade and investment and contribute to global economic growth and development.
Prime Minister and ASEAN chairman Hun Sen said during the official launch of RCEP negotiations that the framework of agreement and co-operation between ASEAN and its free-trade partners would be defined even and more comprehensively.
“We have no doubt that the RCEP we are trying to do now will become a modern, comprehensive and high-quality agreement that transports our market into an integrated market for more than three billion people and with a total GDP of US$19.78 trillion, based on 2011 figures,” he said.
Cham Prasidh, Cambodia’s ASEAN economic minister, told the Post on the sidelines of the launch that the approval of the RCEP by regional leaders was paving the way for the working group to easily continue their work.
The statement also said negotiations aimed to be completed by the end of 2015.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]