The negotiation process of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has achieved great breakthroughs. "The member countries have agreed to conduct a legal review of the Agreement soon to implement the signing procedures in 2020," said Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.
Regarding the significance of the RCEP Agreement, Minister Tran Tuan Anh emphasized that this is a very important milestone in the process of international economic integration of Vietnam as well as of other countries which take part in RCEP. And this is even more meaningful in the context of emerging trade protectionism which has slowed down globalization.
"Every member country has finished discussing on the content of the Agreement and ended most of the market opening negotiations. There are still a number of unresolved issues with India, so it will continue to work with other countries to come to an agreement in the following year ", Minister Tuan Anh informed. According to him, the member countries have agreed to conduct a legal review of the Agreement soon to implement the signing procedures in 2020.
When RCEP comes into force, it will create a market of about 3.5 billion consumers and approximately USD 49,000 billion of GDP, accounting for about 39% of global GDP. It will also become the largest free trade zone in the world with commitments to open markets in the fields of goods, services and investment, simplification of customs procedures, and rules of origin which are favorable for trade.
"This agreement is expected to strongly promote the development of global and regional value chains, helping to further promote the economic development of ASEAN members, including Vietnam and partner countries", said Mr. Tuan Anh.
For Vietnam, after the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in January 2018 and the signing the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (EVFTA) in June 2019, the end of RCEP negotiations will open more opportunities for Vietnamese businesses to boost exports, participate in new regional value chains and increase foreign investment attraction, according to the Minister.
Minister Tran Tuan Anh also shared that RCEP negotiation can be said to be one of the most complicated trade negotiations. Right from the start, all countries agreed on the goal of achieving a comprehensive, high-quality free trade agreement, which benefits all parties. However, it is quite challenging for all 16 countries to achieve a common market opening level. In addition, besides the large scale of the Agreement, the level of economic development of the member countries is also very different.
As an ASEAN member, Vietnam has worked closely with other regional countries to maintain the leading role of ASEAN, both promoting negotiations and maximizing the protection of the interests of ASEAN countries, including Vietnam during the negotiation of the RCEP Agreement.
With the aim of achieving a high-quality and balanced-benefits agreement, Vietnam has actively participated in discussions and actively proposed flexible solutions in many fields to handle problems between parties while ensuring national interests.