Cambodia ready to sign RCEP agreement
PHNOM PENH,. Cambodia is ready to sign The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement next month at the 4th RCEP Summit during the 37th ASEAN Summit, said its Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak.
“(We) agreed to have it (the RCEP) signed by the end of the year in hopes that it will create a more modernised, broader and more highly efficient partnership framework that provides economic interests to each member through the expanding regional trade and investment,” reported Vietnam News Agency (VNA) quoting Sorasak as saying.
He, who attended the 11th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held via video link last week added, all ASEAN ministers present at the meeting acknowledged the strides made towards the RCEP.
“Ministers of ASEAN highly evaluate the efforts of the trade negotiations committee and legal affairs working group which completed their works as planned despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sorasak was cited by the local media, The Phnom Penh Post.
On the same note, experts said the deal will open a wealth of new market opportunities for Cambodia to diversify its export portfolio and accelerate the inflow of regional investments.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Hong Vanak said RCEP is a platform for ASEAN that was years in the making.
“Cambodia now is not like it used to be. We have a wide selection of agricultural products on offer in addition to garments and textiles. Moreover, it has much more room to entice more regional investment to re-export to other countries that are partners of ASEAN,” Vanak said.
Fifteen countries — with the notable exception of India which withdrew in November last year — will sign the deal, scheduled in mid-November in Vietnam. The members have not yet been able to respond to India’s concerns regarding its trade deficit with many of them, according to Thailand’s The Nation.
Besides the 10 ASEAN member states, the other five partners are China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Even without India, RCEP will cover more than 2.2 billion people, or 30 per cent of the world population, a total gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$25.6 trillion (29.3 per cent of world’s GDP) and the trade value of more than US$10.4 trillion (27.4 per cent of global trade).