Economic ministers of ASEAN member nations have agreed on the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by the end of 2020.
Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh chaired a press meeting on Sunday to announce results of the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Meeting (AEM 52) and related conferences, which were held online from August 22 to 29.
ASEAN, short for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a political and economic organization whose members include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
According to Minister Anh, all ASEAN ministers consented on prioritizing the signing of the RCEP by the end of 2020.
RCEP is a proposed wide-area economic partnership under negotiation among ten ASEAN member states and five countries including Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
They will focus on solving existing issues to strive for the early signature of the partnership, while working to add India to the RCEP.
During the AEM 52, Vietnam proposed various plans to strengthen ASEAN economic cooperation and supply chain connectivity in the context of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Delegates also approved the ASEAN+3 Action Plan on mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 and a joint initiative between ASEAN and South Korean economic ministers on promoting economic connectivity to respond to the pandemic.
Economic ministers of ASEAN member states and China also passed a joint declaration on COVID-19 response and enhanced cooperation within the framework of the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area (ACFTA) agreement.