PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (first from left) and other leaders of ASEAN member States and six dialogue partners to the second Summit in Singapore on November 14, 2018. Photo: VGP
Leaders of ten ASEAN member States and six dialogue partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand on Wednesday issued their Joint Statement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations at their 2nd Summit in Singapore.
Under the Statement, the leaders emphasized that conclusion of the trade deal negotiations “is becoming more urgent and significant” given the current headwinds faced by the global economy.
They welcomed the substantial progress made in the talks process in 2018 that has reached final stage and expressed their determination to conclude a modern, high quality and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019.
By now, the participating countries have concluded talks on seven chapters on economic and technical cooperation, small and medium enterprises, customs procedures and trade facilitation, government procurement, institutional provisions, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and standards, technical regulations and conformity assessment procedures.
Of the chapters, five were concluded this year alone, according to the Joint Statement.
The leaders reiterated the value of continued engagement with various stakeholders of the RCEP, including representatives from the business sector, non-governmental organizations and others in ensuring that RCEP remains inclusive.
The member countries began talks in 2013 and the initial goal was to wrap up them in 2015./.