Mar 02, 2015 / 14:03

ASEAN economic ministers resolve to complete RCEP talks this year

The Hanoitimes - ASEAN economic ministers affirmed their resolve to conclude the negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement by the end of this year at a meeting in Malaysia from February 28 to March 1.

Delegates at the event
Delegates at the event
The 21st ASEAN Economic Ministers' Retreat said the RCEP will promote economic, trade and investment cooperation between the bloc and its partners of India, the Republic of Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and China.
The meeting evaluated the implementation of commitments on the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) formation, and discussed how to ensure the progress of the AEC Blueprint’s core economic integration measures. 
Non-tariff trade facilitation measures and practical ways to expand the regional market’s integration after 2015 were also on the agenda.
The ministers considered and provided guidance for the drafting of the post-2015 economic vision and strategic plan of action for ASEAN, in the hope that a decisive plan will be put forth at the end of this year when the ASEAN Community is formally established.
Some notable proposals at the retreat included the setting up of the ASEAN Youth Entrepreneur Association and the ASEAN Women Entrepreneur Association, the improvement of e-commerce infrastructure, and the extension of the ASEAN Internship Programme beyond universities to vocational and technical training centres.
The gathering comes at a crucial time to formulate plans for the establishment of the AEC, an important pillar in the formation of the ASEAN Community, by December 31, 2015. More than 200 delegates from the 10 ASEAN member states and the ASEAN Secretariat attended the event. The Vietnamese delegation was led by Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang.
On February 28, a senior economic officials’ meeting was held in preparation for the retreat.
Founded in 1967, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.