Thailand backs faster conclusion of RCEP negotiations

The US withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is likely to help the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) wrap up faster than expected, said Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, adding that the Southeast Asian country supports faster conclusion of the regional deal, reported in Bangkok by VNS.

Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Somkid said the US's exist offers good prospects for the RCEP, which involves Thailand and 15 other countries, to boost trade and investment, making it a potential alternative multilateral trade pact in the absence of the TPP.

He added that although the US withdrew from the TPP, Thailand still can pursue trade and investment talks with the US through the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (Tifa) and the Thailand-US Amity Treaty.

The US is Thailand's third largest trading partner worldwide, after China and Japan. Two-way trade between Thailand and US amounted to 37.9 billion USD in 2015.

Twelve TPP signatories make up 40 percent of global trade as well as 40 percent of Thailand's trade and 45 percent of the country’s foreign direct investment.

Launched in November 2012, the RCEP aims to establish deeper economic cooperation between the ten ASEAN member states and six dialogue partners: China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The bloc members represent 29 percent of global trade, or 9.5 trillion USD.

The 16 countries missed the deadline of concluding negotiations twice in 2015 and 2016, with16 rounds of negotiations held to date.

They are expected to meet again in Japan next month

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