The 5th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) intersessional ministerial meeting was held in Tokyo, Japan. It was first RCEP ministerial gathering to be held outside ASEAN countries. It was co-chaired by Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko.
- During the meeting, ministers from member countries had in-depth discussions on issues such as trade, service, investment and rules at the meeting.
- They recognized importance of early conclusion of RCEP negotiations consistently.
- They also reaffirmed their resolve to work together and achieve agreement that will allow economies of different levels of development to actively participate in and benefit from open and inclusive regional economic integration.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):
- RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) or comprehensive regional economic integration agreement between the 10-ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its six FTA partners (Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Japan and Korea).
- Its negotiations were formally launched at 2012 ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- Till 2017, 16 RCEP member states accounted for population of 3.4 billion people with total GDP (in terms of PPP) of $49.5 trillion, approximately 38% of the world’s GDP (combined GDPs of China and India makes up more than half that amount) and 29% of world trade.
- RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed trade agreement that includes several Asian and American nations but excludes China and India.