A visceral hit of merriment captured Cambodia’s trade and investment sector as the leaders of 15 Asia-Pacific nations signed the blockbuster Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade pact on Sunday.
Insiders voiced their enthusiasm for the agreement which they say will allow the Kingdom to expand trade and attract more investment from signatory countries.
Leaders of the 10 ASEAN states, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea witnessed the signing of the RCEP agreement via video link following the conclusion of the 4th RCEP Summit on the same day.
Marking ASEAN’s largest free trade pact, the RCEP has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) to the tune of $26.2 trillion, or 30 per cent of global GDP, and engages 2.2 billion people, according to the ASEAN Secretariat.
ASEAN secretary-general Lim Jock Hoi said: “The signing of the RCEP Agreement is a historic event as it underpins ASEAN’s role in leading a multilateral trade agreement of this magnitude, despite global and regional challenges and eight years of negotiations.
Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing told reporters following the signing that the pact will enter into force once six ASEAN countries and three non-ASEAN partners have ratified it, as reported by Bloomberg.
With RCEP negotiations as a base, the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) found that the deal would boost the Kingdom’s GDP an additional two per cent, increase exports by an extra 7.3 per cent and raise investment by an added 23.4 per cent.
The ASEAN Secretariat said: “The deal will improve market access with tariffs and quotas eliminated in over 65 per cent of goods traded and make business predictable with common rules of origin and transparent regulations, upon entry into force.
“This will encourage firms to invest more in the region, including building supply chains and services, and to generate jobs.”