PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday urged India to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) given that India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) shared the same goals of poverty alleviation and inequality reduction.
According to Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, the President made the call during the 16th ASEAN-India Summit at the IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand.
The RCEP, which was launched in 2012, aims to create a free trade agreement among the 10 ASEAN members and its six dialogue partners – Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
But the RCEP’s conclusion has been delayed due to India’s reluctance to liberalize its market.
However, Thai commerce minister Jurin Laksanawisit told Reuters on Sunday that India had not pulled out and RCEP negotiations were proceeding.
Likewise, Department of Trade and Industry secretary Ramon Lopez said on Saturday that the full conclusion of the RCEP this year was “very probable.”
Lopez added that under the RCEP the Philippines would enjoy lower trade barriers and increased market access for goods and services with country partners. (GMA News)