Signing of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership expected this week


HÀ NỘI — As negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have been completed, member countries of the agreement are finalising procedures to prepare for the expected signing on November 15 during the 37th ASEAN Summit this week, said Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng.

Chairing a press conference on Monday ahead of the 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings, one of the most important diplomatic events held in Việt Nam’s Chairmanship Year 2020, he said the agreement was anticipated by all 15 member countries (ASEAN member states and Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and New Zealand) after years of negotiations.

“The RCEP will create a new push for regional trade growth, especially in the context of interrupted supply chains posed by the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement’s signing also holds a significant meaning to Việt Nam because the country has made a contribution to the result as ASEAN Chair 2020,” Dũng, also head of Việt Nam’s ASEAN Senior Officials’ Meeting (ASEAN SOM), said.

The 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings are scheduled to take place between November 12 and 15 as a teleconference.

Some 20 high-level conferences will be held including the 37th ASEAN Summit, ASEAN+1 summits, ASEAN+3 Summit, East Asian Summit, Mekong-Japan and Mekong-the Republic of Korea summits.

The events are an occasion for ASEAN to comprehensively assess its internal and external co-operation in 2020 and put forward plans for the future, Dũng said.

This is also the only annual occasion for ASEAN leaders to hold meetings with leaders of almost all important partners in the region, Dũng said, calling it an important chance for ASEAN leaders to affirm their determination to maintain regional links in response to the pandemic as well as to reinforce ASEAN’s role in an unpredictable global context.

A record number of 80 documents are expected to be adopted at the summit and related meetings.

They include Hà Nội Declaration on ASEAN Community Vision in the post-2025 period, the Hà Nội Declaration on promoting social works towards a responsive and cohesive ASEAN Community, the Declaration of ASEAN+3 leaders on strengthening financial resilience in response to new and emerging challenges and the Declaration of the East Asian Summit on sustainable marine co-operation.

ASEAN and Japan have agreed to establish the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. The centre’s launching ceremony will be held at the ASEAN-Japan Summit this week.

For the first time, the ASEAN Women Leaders’ Summit will be held with the participation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc, Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and female leaders of all 10 ASEAN countries. The summit will highlight the roles of women leaders in building a cohesive, dynamic, sustainable and inclusive community in the post-COVID-19 period.

Summits between ASEAN and partner countries will focus on fostering and deepening ASEAN co-operation with other countries, effective management to push back COVID-19 and other regional and global issues of common interests, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Việt Nam, as ASEAN Chair in 2020, is exerting every effort to hold a successful 37th ASEAN Summit and relating meetings, said Dũng at the ASEAN Senior Officials’ Preparatory Meeting which was held earlier the same day via video conference.

Participants at the meeting reviewed the preparation for the meetings and agreed on the agenda and documents to be submitted to leaders at the summit.

They expressed their satisfaction with the realisation of initiatives and priorities which have been carried out on schedule despite the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding ASEAN’s external relations, the participants appreciated the contributions of their partners in 2020. — VNS

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