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ASEAN must Push RCEP Signing to Expedite Regional Economy's Recovery

ASEAN must Push RCEP Signing to Expedite Regional Economy’s Recovery

KUALA LUMPUR – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) partners are expected to push for the signing of the RCEP deal to tackle the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic to the economy.
MCA International Bureau of Communication and Diplomacy President, Dr. Tee Ching Seng, said that if ASEAN is to maintain a united front for the post-pandemic era, there is no better time than now to push for the signing of the RCEP, as the agreement would strengthen economic ties and support the integration of regional sectors.
“From the Asian financial crisis of 1997 until the global economic recession of 2008, the cooperative efforts of regional partners have been the common thread.”
“Therefore, there is no better time than now for ASEAN to push for the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP),” he said in a statement.
He added that if the RCEP can be endorsed by ASEAN partners by the end of 2020, it will be “strong support to the region” which has suffered from the significant slowdown in trade due to the preventive measures taken to contain the virus.
“Indeed, RCEP will cement the pact for the world’s most significant regional partnership, spurring the birth of the world’s largest free trade area, which will surely provide the much-needed catalyst for the prosperity of the ASEAN region in the post-pandemic era,” Tee said.
Textual negotiations for the RCEP, which is expected to be the most significant regional free trade agreement covering nearly half of the world’s population and contributing to one-third of global gross domestic product, were concluded at the 35th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok last year in November.
In addition to the 10 ASEAN member countries, other participating countries are Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. India withdrew from the trade deal over fears the deal could hurt its domestic industry.
In early August, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said countries participating in RCEP are expected to sign the agreement in November (2020).
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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