|Illustrative image (Photo: ASEAN)
The meeting was within the framework of the ongoing 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Thailand, the Chair of ASEAN in 2019.
The Vietnamese delegation active participated in discussions on measures to conclude negotiations on RCEP and market opening towards the goal of signing of the deal in Vietnam next year.
At the meeting, ministers sought ways to remove remaining obstacles regarding the wording and market opening in RCEP. They lauded negotiators’ efforts this year and agreed on a report on the negotiation progress to submit to leaders.
Speaking after the ASEAN Economic Committee (AEC) Council Meeting on October 31, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit said ASEAN and six trade partners are still optimistic about making breakthrough in RCEP negotiations.
RCEP talks began in November 2012 with a view to promoting economic cooperation between ASEAN and six countries that signed free trade agreements with the bloc, which are China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.
Thailand hopes to conclude the talks this year when the country serves as ASEAN Chair.
RCEP will cover 16 nations which account for 30 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product.
RCEP member countries have a combined population of 3.56 billion people and a trade value of over 1 trillion USD, or 29 percent of the world’s total.