According to a recent media statement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is likely to be finalized in 2018.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six countries with which the association has existing free trade agreements: Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

The RCEP involves 16 countries with a combined output of $23 trillion and will create a free trade area of several billion people. The countries account for 27% of global trade.

After the 4th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore last weekend, some chapters of the proposed agreement are close to conclusion while others are already finalized.

Cambodia Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said, “The ministers reaffirmed their resolve to meet the leaders’ instruction to intensify efforts in 2018 towards the conclusion, and welcomed the work plan presented as part of the RCEP trade negotiating committee report to the ministers.”

Negotiating parties can submit revisions of the agreement by April 13. Another ministerial meeting will be held in July before the ASEAN economic ministers’ meeting in August. There will also be two meetings of RCEP chief negotiators in April and June.

You can read more about this agreement on Khmer Times and The Independent.