ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN 2017: Regional economic ties are 'strategically important' to PHL
Improving economic ties under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be a big boost to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its trading partners, according to an economist.
"It is strategically important because it will bolster our government's efforts to expand markets and participate in productive trade based on specialization and comparative advantage," Cid L. Terosa, Dean of the School of Economics of the University of Asia and the Pacific, told GMA News Online.
The RCEP is a free trade agreement that comprises the ASEAN member states and six partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand.
Among the important topics that must be discussed are overseas developments, Terosa noted. "Policies of the Trump administration and its effects on ASEAN, changing perspectives of globalization and integration and economic sovereignty over disputed territorial waters."
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said this year's ASEAN summits will also focus on negotiations for the RCEP to come to fruition.
ASEAN counts Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam as members.
The latest data from the ASEAN Secretariat showed intra-ASEAN trade totaled $543.751 billion in 2015, with exports totaling $305.693 billion and imports amounting to $238.059 billion.
Extra-ASEAN trade totaled $1.726 trillion, with exports at $876.338 billion and imports at $850.220 billion.
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