Xinhua – Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Monday that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has contributed to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from COVID-19.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) must “take full advantage of free trade agreements, especially the RCEP agreement, which is the largest free trade agreement in history world,” he said in a speech at the opening ceremony of the 2022 ASEAN Leadership. and Partnership Forum.
Hun Sen, ASEAN President for 2022, said ASEAN should continue to promote economic integration and transform the bloc into an attractive and dynamic center of trade and investment by reducing tax and non-tax barriers.
He also officially announced the opening of the ASEAN Economic Club.
“The club will play a key role in promoting more cohesive ASEAN economic integration by helping to monitor, assess and advise…on the implementation of agreements reached by ASEAN leaders, especially on free trade agreements, the RCEP agreement and other agreements related to the economic pillar,” he said.
Undersecretary of State and spokesperson for the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce, Penn Sovicheat, said RCEP has further facilitated cross-border trade and investment flows and created a huge market.
“RCEP is comprehensive, covering trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, dispute settlement, e-commerce, competition and intellectual property, among others,” he said. he told Xinhua. “This trade pact has promoted multilateralism and free trade and all participating countries will benefit in the long run.”
Kin Phea, director general of the Institute of International Relations at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said RCEP is a multilateral business cooperation and its structure is truly meant to benefit all participating countries.
Phea said RCEP “helps reverse rampant unilateralism because it brings together all bilateral free trade agreements into one economic sphere, under one overarching trade decision.”
Joseph Matthews, senior professor at BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh, said RCEP has given a big boost to regional and global economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era.
“This mega-trade deal offers all participating countries enormous potential to strengthen their trade and investment ties and accelerate their economic recovery from the pandemic,” he told Xinhua.
“Under RCEP, all member countries will reap long-term benefits by further integrating into regional and global supply chains and creating new jobs for their respective peoples,” Matthews said.
Entering into force in January 2022, the regional trade mega pact includes 15 Asia-Pacific countries, including
10 ASEAN member states, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
- Key words: COVID-19, economic recovery