JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) — Global trade uncertainty has encouraged the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) discussion to be soon completed. However, reaching a free-trade agreement agreement is not an easy task for 10 ASEAN countries, along with six Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and News Zealand, as it keeps lagging.
Indonesia Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, stressed the importance of reaching substantial development by the end of this year. But until now, RCEP discussion has only met 38 percent agreement. Among 21 chapters, the country members have only agreed on 8 chapters, after formally launched in November 2012.
RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee, led by Indonesia’s International Trade Negotiations Director General Iman Pambagyo mentioned that the country members have agreed on 5 new chapters, since RCEP Summit 2017.
Chapters that have been agreed are Economic and Technical Cooperation, Small and Medium Enterprises, Customs and Trade Facilitation Procedures, Government Procurement, Institutional Provision, Sanitary and Phitosanitary, also Standards, Regulations Technical and Procedure for Conformity Assessment.
Pambagyo said, some chapters couldn’t be agreed yet, due to political decision issues. For example, Japan didn’t show its resiliency in the discussion, since last August. But China and India which previously had defended their positions, have shown high flexibility and support to ASEAN.
Indonesia President Joko Widodo highlighted, RCEP discussion now is in a point of no return. He said, “Some part of world economy is in negative growth. Trade tensions between the two major economies started to impact other countries and there are more countries taking trade security measures such as the anti-dumping duties, the countervailing duties, and safeguard. This situation confirms the importance of RCEP negotiations to be completed immediately.”
Widodo also encouraged so the discussion will be completed next year, without further delay.
RCEP is potentially being the biggest regional free-trade agreement, because it covers more than 48 percent world population, 38 percent Gross Domestic Product, and 42 percent world trade. Is is considered as Trans Pacific Partnership alternative, after United States withdrew from the free-trade agreement.
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