ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN economies resilient amid global challenges: RCEP
LEADERS of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries yesterday agreed to find ways to address the various interests of each participating country to arrive at a balanced, high quality and mutual beneficial outcomes.
In a joint statement issued during the 28th ASEAN summit, the leaders acknowledged the resilient economies of the countries participating in the ASEAN negotiations given challenging global economic conditions.
The combined output of the 16 participating countries amounted to US$ 22.4 trillion or 30.6 per cent of the world output in 2015.
The total trade among the participating countries amounted to US$11.9 trillion in 2015 while total FDI inflow to participating countries reached US$329.6 billion.
“We note that further progress has been made in negotiating a modern comprehensive high quality and mutual beneficial economic partnership,” it said.
The leaders also welcomed efforts to advance market access and tax based negotiations while remaining mindful that considerable work is ahead. They acknowledged the complexities of the ASEAN negotiations and the differences in the level of development of each participating country.
“We reaffirm the potential of an ASEAN agreement to boost business confidence, benefit consumers, reinforce the ASEAN region’s contribution to global growth and the deepening of regional economic integration and equitable economic development for all participating countries,” the leaders said.
The leaders reiterated the need of advancing negotiations, noting “we entrust our ministers and officials to further intensify negotiations in cooperative manner for the swift conclusion of the ASEAN negotiations”.
The RCEP was launched by ASEAN and its six trading partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand on the sidelines of the 21st ASEAN Summit held in Phnom Penh in 2013.
The realisation of the trade pact could lead to the creation of one of the largest free trade areas with an integrated market comprising over three billion people with a combined gross domestic product of about US$17.23 trillion, based on 2010 figures.
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