By forming a major trading bloc, the Southeast Asian countries can come together feel top leaders at the ASEAN Summit.
The 35th ASEAN Summit held in Thailand brought together the leaders of various countries in Southeast Asia.
An Asia Pacific trade pact is expected to be signed in 2020, which would make the countries involved, in building a major trading bloc.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will bring an end to negotiations that have been going on for many years. Thailand which is heading it says it welcomes the decision to sign the RCEP Agreement in 2020. The RCEP was proposed in 2011 and negotiations have been going on for years.
By the agreement, it will bring in an open and inclusive international trading system and an expansion in value chains. It will stimulate economic growth, says Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
A “substantial conclusion” has not materialized from the negotiation, as a few “minor issues” were raised by member states. As it involves a huge population from the Southeast countries, the rewards will be staggering, says Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Six large countries will be the major partners in this agreement. They are China, South Korea, India, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. One of the sticking factors is India, which still hesitates in joining in the agreement. India is not willing to sign the pact as it will bring in cheap Chinese imports, which will destroy the farmers and workers of India, says the Indian Prime Minister.
China expects to benefit most from the RCEP, as it will improve its economic growth amid the trade war with the U.S. Tariffs imposed have slowed down growth in its economy.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was in attendance at the Bangkok summit.
The RCEP negotiations will cover various areas such as trade, investment, market access, intellectual property, economic cooperation, and e-commerce.