RCEP trade pact signing to be key outcome of 37th ASEAN Summit — MITI
08 Nov 2020
The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement will be the central outcome of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, to be held virtually from Nov 9 to 15. The ASEAN Summit will be hosted by Vietnam, who is the ASEAN chair for 2020.
The RCEP agreement would make this grouping the largest free-trade agreement in the world, covering nearly half of the world’s population while contributing to one-third of the world’s gross domestic product.
The agreement, which has been in negotiation since 2013, would enhance regional economic integration, promote the flow of investments and strengthen global supply chains, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) noted in a statement, today.
According to the ministry, leaders are all set to convene at the summit, and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will lead the country’s delegation accompanied by Senior Minister cum International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali alongside Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
With ASEAN member states still battling the Covid-19 pandemic, MITI said the summit will be an ideal platform to discuss ways and means to deal with the health and economic challenges.
Under the theme “Cohesive and Responsive”, member states will also focus on how best to enhance unity, cooperation, and solidarity towards regional economic integration.
Prior to the leaders’ summit, the economic ministers will convene at the ASEAN Economic Community Council Meeting to discuss tangible solutions and the way forward to support the recovery of the regional economy by keeping markets open for trade and investment.
In this regard, the proposed ASEAN Comprehensive 2 Recovery Framework (ACRF) and its implementation plan, will be submitted for the ASEAN leaders’ endorsement at the summit.
“Our expectation is for the ACRF to be implemented so as to provide sustainable solutions to economic recovery made all the more imperative because of Covid-19,” Mohamed Azmin said.
The meetings will also feature customary summits with ASEAN dialogue partners, namely the 23rd ASEAN-China Summit, the 23rd ASEAN-Japan Summit, the 21st ASEAN-South Korea Summit, the 8th ASEAN-United States Summit, and the ASEAN-New Zealand Leaders’ Summit.
Others are the second ASEAN-Australia Leaders’ Summit, the 23rd ASEAN Plus Three Summit, the 15th East Asia Summit, the 11th ASEAN-United Nations Summit and the 17th ASEAN-India Summit.
MITI said these summits with dialogue partners are expected to advance further cooperation in multiple areas, with emphasis on stretching trade relations, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2020 ASEAN Business Investment Summit (BIS) is also scheduled to take place in conjunction with the 37th ASEAN Summit, with the theme “Digital ASEAN: Sustainable and Inclusive”.
The 2020 ASEAN BIS is expected to host not only the ASEAN leaders and dialogue partners, but also ASEAN and global chief executive officers, prominent decision-makers, think tanks, as well as thought leaders, MITI said.
The 2020 ASEAN BIS will culminate with the ASEAN Business Award event which honours excellent businesses across the region, in particular, enterprises that have shown the spirit to overcome challenges in these trying times.