BANGKOK — Members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) reaffirmed their target of putting the trade pact into effect by early next year, as smoother trade will hasten recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doing so would also give the member states an advantage over the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as it would be the only multilateral trade pact that includes China at present.
“[We] reaffirmed our commitment to expedite respective domestic procedures to have the RCEP Agreement enter into force in early January 2022 as targeted,” said a chairman’s statement from the ASEAN-Australia Summit held on Wednesday, “in order to enhance market and employment opportunities for businesses and people in the region.”
The partnership was sealed by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in November 2020. But it requires ratification from at least six ASEAN signatories and three non-ASEAN signatories for the pact to take effect.
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