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RCEP aims to boost trade in Asia-Pacific


12-07-2016 00:59 BJT

The 16th round of talks for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is currently underway in Jakarta. The countries involved are hoping to finalize an agreement that brings together countries with a combined GDP of 22 trillion US Dollars. They also aim to benefit areas such as investments, trade in goods and services, and e-commerce. CCTV's Silkina Ahluwalia reports.

Delegates and ministers from 16 countries in Asia Pacific are meeting for the sixteenth time in Jakarta to drive negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP. 

It was launched in 2012 by the 10 ASEAN member states along with 6 other regional partners including China, Japan and Australia.  

With the uncertain fate of the Trans Pacific Partnership under Donald Trump's presidency, the nations involved are looking to benefit from this free trade agreement ambitiously backed by China, the world's second largest economy. 

"We have already achieved agreement on economic and technical cooperation. Now our focus has shifted to agreeing on core areas concerning small and medium enterprises, investments and competition policy," said Iman Pambagyo, Director General of International Trade Cooperation.

RCEP is already the most appealing option for leaders wanting to secure regional stability.

This new framework could shape the future for Indonesia, especially in line with President Joko Widodo's focal point of making China a regional ally.

The strong economic relations between the two countries could be given an extra boost, particularly for Indonesia's direct foreign investment sector and export market. 

"Indonesia is looking to open up new export markets. Currently, our market is still limited. We hope to sustain the current traditional markets and continue to widen our scope in the future," said Enggartiasto Lukita, Indonesian Trade Minister.

Although the agreement looks promising, a few obstacles still lie ahead. 

"It is not easy to combine different interests and come to an agreement. We are trying to cater to all of the countries' needs and keep in mind the different strengths and weaknesses of each participant from developed and developing countries. It is a very tough job," said Enggartiasto Lukita.

Experts say the RCEP could offer the best solution for trade liberalization and to further increase growth in Asia and beyond. 

If the RCEP were finalized, it will provide a platform for more open trade and investment in the region. That would ultimately contribute to global economic growth and development. It brings together countries with a combined GDP of more than 20 trillion US dollars and provides global income benefits of 260 billion US Dollars.

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