"ASEAN trade ministers have agreed and committed themselves to conclude the RCEP this year," Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said, on the sidelines of the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand, on Saturday.
The agreement was reached in response to the current global situation.
"We have agreed and committed ourselves to substantially conclude the RCEP this year. We have no other choice, particularly in view of the current global situation," Lukita said..
"We also have agreed to conclude the substance of the RCEP among ASEAN member states. Hence, we are asking for flexibility," he said
ASEAN trade ministers have also agreed to provide mutual support and hold intensive communications in order to pass the RCEP, he said.
"We all agree that this RCEP is very crucial, in view of current global economic conditions, due to the US-China trade war. After ASEAN member states agreed to the RCEP, we agreed to share the RCEP with ASEAN partners," he said.
Regarding the business competition chapter, which ASEAN member states failed to pass at the 33rd ASEAN Summit, he said they have now resolved their disagreements.
RCEP consists of 24 chapters that must be approved before it is put into force.
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