Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
“Most of the terms for the RCEP have been finalised and concluded. Only one country with a ‘not clear’ decision…just wait for the leaders’ statement tomorrow,” Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Darell Leiking was quoted by Malaysia’s national news agency Bernama as saying on November 3.
Despite being disappointed with the negotiations, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said concluding the multilateral agreement is not easy as it needs agreement from all 16 RCEP countries.
“We need an agreement from all 16 countries...if one country demands something and we cannot accept it, then there will be no agreement,” he told the Malaysian media when asked to comment about the conclusion of the RCEP after a seven-year delay.
The RCEP is a multilateral trade agreement between the 10 member states of ASEAN -- Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- and its six Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
RCEP member countries have a combined population of 3.56 billion people and a trade value of over 1 trillion USD, or 29 percent of the global total./.