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ASEAN wants to expand RCEP membership

ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn has said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is striving to increase the membership of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Speaking at the ASEAN-Japan Business Week in Tokyo on June 5, Kao said the ten-member grouping also plans to establish a unit in the ASEAN Secretariat in support of the RCEP, which accounts for 32% of the world’s total GDP.

ASEAN economic ministers are also working on procedures to allow other economies to join the agreement.

The RCEP gathers the 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and China, Japan, the Republic of Korea (RoK), Australia and New Zealand.

The deal has recently come into full effect in all the 15 member countries after it officially took effect in the Philippines on June 2.

The RCEP will eliminate up to 90% of tariffs on goods traded among the signatories within 20 years, starting from the agreement's entry into force.

Kao called the RCEP – the largest free trade agreement in the world – a crucial initiative in support of businesses, especially those from Japan. According to him, more than 14,000 Japanese companies are operating in ASEAN countries./.

Source: Vietnam Plus


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