Member nations reaffirm signing of RCEP this year

by BERNAMA/ pic by BLOOMBERG

TRADE ministers from 15 nations yesterday reaffirmed that a mega Asia-Pacific trade pact will be signed later this year, Yonhap News Agency reported.

It said according to South Korea’s Trade Ministry, India again skipped the negotiations.

Asean members and their dialogue partners — South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand — effectively reached an agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) last November, with the goal of signing the pact within this year.

However, India did not join last November’s agreement, citing concerns over the influx of more price-competitive Chinese products into its market.

While reaffirming their commitment to sign the RCEP deal this year, the ministers also noted the importance of the deal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Seoul’s Trade Ministry said in a statement.

South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee (picture) said the RCEP pact would help participating nations deal with a revamp of global supply chains once the pandemic wanes, Yonhap reported.

If signed, the RCEP deal will create one of the world’s largest economic blocs, as the 16 countries together account for about 45% of the global population and over 30% of the world’s GDP.