Make RCEP a success, says Hun Sen
Cambodia is committed to join hands with other Asean member states to make the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) a success after the cancellation of the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), said Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday.
Mr. Hun Sen made the announcement at the opening of the Fifth China Round Table on the World Trade Organization’s Accessions in Siem Reap province.
The prime minister’s statement comes exactly a week after Asean members agreed, at the Asean Economic Ministers Retreat in Manila, to cut 90 percent of tariffs in the RCEP for between 5,000 to 6,000 kinds of products over the next 15 years.
Many experts see RCEP replacing the TPP, after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order in January pulling the United States out of the partnership.
“Frankly speaking, I would like to see the TPP die because it only separates Asean,” said Mr. Hun Sen.
“If the TPP is beneficial to Asean, why does it only include four countries instead of all 10?” he asked.
Mr. Hun Sen said he would try his best, together with other RCEP countries, to make the regional grouping a success.
The RCEP is a regional economic agreement being negotiated between the 10 Asean governments and their six free trade agreement partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
According to the Bangkok Post, Thailand’s Commerce Minister Apiradi Tantraporn will raise the issue of the tariff cuts for further discussions with Asean’s dialogue partners later this month so that a pact can be signed at the Asean Summit in November.
“Although the RCEP talks are yet to be completed, all Asean members have reaffirmed the push for tariff reductions covering not fewer than 90 percent of all products, as well the conclusion of talks late this year,” Ms. Apiradi told the Bangkok Post.
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