Looking forward to the South East Asian Nations Association (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok this weekend, it was hoped to conclude negotiations this year on the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
But the final statement of ASEAN’s chairman issued Sunday night that the 10 nation grouping welcomed the “commitment to sign the RCEP Agreement in 2020”.
“This will greatly enhance an open, inclusive and rules-based international trading system that will expand value chains.”
A new agreement on the emergence of the US-China trade war helped reduce regional economic growth to the lowest in five years.
“The early conclusion of the RCEP negotiations will provide the basis for the economic integration of East Asia,” said a statement from Chinas foreign ministry after Premier Li Keqiang to the leaders of South-East Asia.
However, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, did not even mention the RCEP talks in open statements at a meeting with South East Asian leaders and instead only talked about a review of the trade agreement between ASEAN and India.
Modi did not comment on the trading block, whose 16 countries were the third part of the global gross domestic product and almost half of the world’s population, in Twitter posts after meeting Thai and Indonesian leaders.
A foreign ministerial minister from India told a subsequent media meeting “Let us have all the RCEP questions tomorrow.” T
South East Asian countries expected that a temporary agreement could be announced at least on Monday.
But India is concerned about potential Chinese import floods. A person known to the New Delhi negotiations said new claims had been made last week.
IMPACT WAR TRADE
The negotiators were coming together Sunday evening to reach an agreement, Narumon spokesman Pinyosinwat, the government of Taiwan, told Sunday reporters.
“We don’t have a conclusion yet. When one is there, it would be announced, ”she said. “Commercial ministers are still discussing the outstanding issues. The signature is expected around February next year. ”
Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said that the ASEAN summit was formally opened on Sunday that the 16 nations in the potential trading block should reach an agreement this year to encourage economic growth, trade and investment.
He highlighted the risks associated with “trade trades” and “geo-strategic competition” in the region.
Some countries raised the possibility of moving forward without India on a block which included Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
But Commercial Minister Jurin Laksanawisit told Reuters on Sunday that India did not pull out.
Another advantage of Southeast Asian countries from India would have relative weightings in the trade arrangement than less domination from China.
China and Indias long-standing competitors, who fought in a border war in 1962, have tackled Indias decision to formally revoke the constitutional autonomy of the majority Muslim state in Kashmir in recent days. .
Regional concerns were raised in the US decision to send a lower-level delegation to the summits this year that can no longer be relied on as a weight towards Chinas increased regional possibility.
Instead of President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, the Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross and the national security consultant, Robert Brien will represent the United States.
The Thai spokesman said a planned U.-ASEAN leaders meeting would only be planned by three leaders from the 10-nation block meeting with the US delegation.
Writing with Matthew Tostevin and Kay Johnson; edited by Jason Neely
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