RCEP deal likely signed by mid-2020

RCEP deal likely signed by mid-2020

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is likely to be signed by the middle of next year, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is likely to be signed by the middle of next year, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said.

The Asia-Pacific trade agreement known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is likely to be signed by the middle of next year, said Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

"The latest round of talks have yielded many results, because the trade ministers from 16 countries were able to iron out most of their differences and continue the negotiations, ahead of the final meeting which will be held in Bangkok in November," Mr Jurin said.

He was talking to the media after the 8th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting in Beijing, which ended on Sunday.

"If the negotiations can be finalised in the meeting in Bangkok, then the deal is likely to be signed by mid-2020," he said.

Once signed, each signatory to the deal will have to make sure their domestic laws are in line with the terms of the RCEP, said Mr Jurin, who added the process will likely take between 1.5-2 years.

Mr Jurin said the next meetings will focus on foreign investment, e-commerce, and the list of services and goods which will be included in the zero-tariff list.

"Our progress right now stands at about 60%, as we have finished negotiations on seven out of 20 main issues on the RCEP," he said.

By joining the RCEP, Mr Jurin said Thailand will benefit from the cheap export of electronic equipment, heavy machines, plastic and chemical products, automobile engines, rubber tyres, textile, tapioca products, as well as pulp and paper.

The RCEP was launched in November 2012, with the goal of deeper economic cooperation between Asean and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.

Once the RCEP is finalised, the group will form a major trading bloc that accounts for one-third of the world's gross domestic product.



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