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Media Statement : Asean Committed Towards Preserving Centrality And Meeting The 2016 Deadline Of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Negotiations


  1. I chaired an informal gathering of ASEAN Ministers and Heads of Delegation in Nairobi, Kenya on 15 December 2015 to discuss the way forward for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This meeting is a follow-up to the decision made by ASEAN leaders in KL during the recently held ASEAN Summit in November 2015 to conclude RCEP negotiations by the end of 2016.

  2. The meeting reiterated the centrality of ASEAN in the negotiations. Ministers agreed to direct their officials to step up the work in the next few weeks to ensure that the next round of negotiations in Brunei scheduled from 15-19 February 2016 will produce a good outcome.

  3. At the meeting in Nairobi, every ASEAN member state shared the challenges they are facing in areas involving goods, services and investment under the RCEP negotiations. By doing so, it is hoped that we will have a better understanding of the challenges faced as we seek to conclude the negotiations by the end of next year.

  4. It was also agreed that all member states will support Mr. Iman Pambagyo, the Trade Negotiating Committee Chair and RCEP coordinator for ASEAN. If need be, our officials will meet before the upcoming round of negotiations in Brunei. 

  5. The last Round between negotiators is scheduled for September 2016. As this is also the month during which the next ASEAN Summit will be held, it was decided that the Round will be brought forward so that substantive conclusion of the agreement could be done by September 2016.

  6. For Trade in Goods, I am pleased to note that RCEP has made good progress especially with all RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) agreeing to the Basic Concept of Initial Offers (BCIO). It is also encouraging to note that 15 RPCs have submitted their initial offers. 

  7. For Trade in Services, we are encouraged with the submission of the revised offers with value add elements. In this regard we hope that the other ASEAN countries who had not so will follow suit.

  8. For Investment, we commend the good progress made in the Investment Chapter notably the efforts of all RPCs to table their Initial Reservation Lists during the last Round in Busan, Korea. All RPCs are urged to keep up the good momentum and to ensure progress by resolving the key issues in investment.‎

  9. It is important for ASEAN to continue leading the process in the Investment Chapter. The meeting also noted that China and India had demonstrated commitment to achieve progress in RCEP negotiations.

  10. Completing the RCEP negotiations by 2016 has become more urgent with the conclusion of Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations in October 2015. RCEP which involves ASEAN and 6 FTA partners, accounts for 30% of world trade and will provide a big boost towards closer economic integration among the countries involved as well as with other countries around the globe.


YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed
Minister of International Trade and Industry

Last Updated 2015-12-17 11:01:59 by Azuna Hasbullah atau Abd Rahman

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