MANILA – Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III is optimistic that the proposed 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be approved this year.
RCEP is a proposed free-trade pact among members of the ASEAN (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), and its major trading partners China, South Korea, Australia, India, Japan and New Zealand.
It is eyed to further strengthen markets of ASEAN.
”You know it’s not our call only but as the Chairman of the finance process I will certainly push it,” Dominguez, head of the Duterte administration’s economic team, told journalists at the sidelines of an ASEAN-related event in Makati City Wednesday.
The Philippines is the chairman of this year’s ASEAN Summit.
RCEP was launched in November 2012 to cover trade-in goods and services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property rights, competition policy, and dispute settlement, among others.
It is seen as a good platform for the region to negotiate with other regional blocks.
Dominguez believes that the proposal “is very doable”.
“RCEP is a very good way for ASEAN and the Philippines is supporting it very well,” he said. “The future is not very certain and we have to strengthen our internal markets and internal cooperation and RCEP is a very good tool for that,” he added.