Australia backs conclusion of long-delayed RCEP

Australia backs conclusion of long-delayed RCEP

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on Friday. (Photo from @MFAThai Twitter account)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on Friday. (Photo from @MFAThai Twitter account)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has supported a Thai bid to seal the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to bolster trade, deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak said on Friday.

The Australian prime minister held talks with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha before the start of the G20 summit in Osaka and the two leaders shared common concerns about the impact of the trade war between the United States and China.

Lt Gen Werchon said Mr Morrison agreed to help Thailand negotiate with other RCEP members for the China-backed trade pact to be sealed.

Gen Prayut attends the G20 meeting as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Thailand promised for the conclusion of the RCEP by the end of this year during the Asean summit last weekend.

Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, India and New Zealand are the non-Asean members in the RCEP.

Negotiations began in 2012 and were supposed to have been concluded in late 2015, but they have been bogged down repeatedly amid disputes over protected sectors and market access, mainly between India and China.


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