The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is committed to accelerating negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), said Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita said at the 21st round of RCEP negotiations, recently.
He said that once ratified, the RCEP would become the largest trade bloc in the world that could boost economic growth of its members.
The 21st round is taking place in Yogyakarta from Feb. 2 to 9. It is attended by RCEP's 16 negotiating member countries. This round discusses the trade of goods and services, investment, issues regarding legalities and institutions, as well as the rules of origin (ROO).
"The RCEP is our priority because it will greatly contribute to the growth of exports and investment in its member countries," Enggartiasto said in a press statement on Tuesday in Yogyakarta, adding that Indonesia aimed to complete the talks in 2018.
To accelerate the process, participants of the negotiations will also hold numerous bilateral meetings prior to or on the sidelines of the negotiations.
Enggartiasto had earlier met on Jan. 22 with the Indian Trade and Industry Ministry in New Delhi to push talks on the RCEP. President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expressed a similar intention last year in November during the 31st ASEAN Summit in Manila, the Philippines.
The planned RCEP will represent 28.5 percent of global trade and 31.6 percent of gross world product (GWP). It will be a trade pact between 10 ASEAN countries and their six partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. (bbn)