Tuesday, October 19

RCEP’s to ensure international trade remains prime driver

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KUALA LUMPUR: A swift conclusion to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations will help ensure international trade remains a prime driver of economic growth in Asia, says HSBC Bank Malaysia chief executive officer Mukhtar Hussain.

He said all 16 nations were currently negotiating its terms as the latest ministerial meeting noted that the substantial conclusion of the regional trade block has been identified as a priority deliverable in 2017.

“It is good to see that progress is being made in all areas of negotiations, that two out of 20 chapters of the RCEP agreement – on economic and technical cooperation and on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – have been concluded and that the remaining chapters are nearing conclusion,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The 3rd RCEP Intersession Ministerial Meeting was held on May 21 to 22, 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam, following the conclusion of the 18th round of negotiations held on May 2 to 12, 2017 in Pasay City, Philippines.

Mukhtar said RCEP had the potential to shape the international trade agenda, offering deep, large scale trade liberalisation measures in goods, services and investment that covered roughly half of the world’s population, nearly 30 per cent of global Gross Domestic Product and 30 per cent of global foreign direct investment flows.

“RCEP has sufficient scale to shape the rules of trade across a large swath of the global economy.

“The proposed agreement also offers participants potential access to three of the largest consumer markets of Asean, China and India,” he said.

As for Malaysia, Mukhtar said RCEP provided an opportunity to boost trade liberalisation and economic integration.

“Malaysia, as a prominent Asean economy, can take this route to further strengthen trade with RCEP partners while domestic companies can look forward to growing regionally,” he added. — Bernama