Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit yesterday chaired the ninth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) meeting at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok with 10 ASEAN member states and six trade partner countries attending.
Jurin said the RCEP meeting was an important event in which talks were held in the most straightforward manner possible, to reach conclusions as planned last year by the leaders of the participating countries wishing talks to be finished this year. The leaders plan to declare success in the RCEP talks in a Summit scheduled for next month.
Jurin said 14 of a total of 20 topics of the discussions have been concluded, leaving the six others to be completed in a senior officials meeting scheduled from October 24 to October 29. The next ministerial meeting is scheduled for November 1 during which conclusions will be wrapped up ahead of the Summit.
All the participating countries have supported the plan to reach conclusions in the talks within the year so that RCEP will become the world’s largest Free Trade area, consisting of 16 countries including the 10 ASEAN states and six trading partner countries, namely China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand with a combined population of over 3.56 billion or nearly half the world’s population and a combined trade value of over 11.4 trillion dollars, accounting for 30% of the total world trade value. Thailand is expected to earn some 27 billion dollars in trade and investment.