Sunday, 27 May 2018 | 20:50 WIB

ASEAN Economic Ministers to Accelerate RCEP Trade Agreement Completion

Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita.

JAKARTA, NNC - As many as 10 ASEAN Economic Ministers met on the sidelines of the 32nd ASEAN Summit. The meeting specifically discussed the strategy of completing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations substantially by the end of 2018.

The meeting is also intended to provide guidance to the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) to ensure achievement of significant progress in the 22nd round of the negotiation on which will be held on April 28-May 8, 2018 in Singapore.

At the start of the meeting, the Ministers discussed the progress achieved since the RCEP Ministers gave follow-up directions to advance the negotiations at its 4th intersession in March in the face of the 22nd round of negotiations.

Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia Enggartiasto Lukita as the Country Coordinator of the RCEP negotiations urged all ASEAN member countries to submit their offer packages in the field of trade of goods, services and investment reservation list as a concrete step to show the centrality and solidity of ASEAN in leading and encouraging progress of RCEP negotiations towards completion.

"ASEAN should demonstrate its solidity and leadership in leading the negotiations towards a substantial resolution by the end of this year. This is demonstrated by striving to reach an agreement to deliver an initial commitment so that the negotiations on request and offer packages can be initiated and intensified to reach mutual agreement for all parties," said the Minister of Trade in a written statement in Jakarta, Saturday (4/28/2018).

In addition, the preparation of the 5th RCEP Ministerial Intersession Meeting to be held on July 1, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan was also being discussed. The Ministers also gave their general views on messages of interest from a number of partner countries such as Canada, Chile, Peru, Taiwan and Mercosur countries such as Brazil and Argentina, and Hong Kong, China, to join the RCEP.

The sideline meeting was held just after the ASEAN Economic Community Council (AECC) completed the discussion on several issues that surfaced in resolving ASEAN economic integration commitments as outlined in AEC Blueprint 2025.