From 11 - 12 October 2019, the Ninth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting and Related Meetings was held in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was attended by Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations, U Thaung Tun. In addition, the Minister was accompanied by the Director General of the Foreign Economic Relations Department, U Than Aung Kyaw, and senior officials of the Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations.
At the meeting, the ministers welcomed the significant progress of RCEP negotiations and recognized that there remain a few outstanding issues. The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to achieve the Leaders’ mandate to conclude negotiations in 2019 and aim for a positive announcement to be made at the 3rd RCEP Summit on 4 November 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The RCEP is regarded as a testament to an open trade and investment environment that will further expand and deepen regional value chains for the benefits of businesses. It will turn the region into a new center of growth and contribute positively to the global economy, while serving as a supporting pillar to a strong multilateral trading system.
The RCEP trade pact is a proposed free trade agreement between 10 ASEAN Member States and 6 of the partners-Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Up to date, 28 rounds of negotiations, seven regular ministerial meetings and numerous intersessional meetings at ministerial and working levels have been held.
The RCEP when concluded will be one of the largest trading blocs. It will cover a half of the world’s populations, account for 40 percent of the global trade and around a third of the global GDP.