The Cambodian commerce ministry recently revealed that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be signed at the 4th RCEP Summit during the 37th ASEAN Summit in Vietnam in mid-November. The deal will open a wealth of new market opportunities for Cambodia to diversify its export portfolio and accelerate the inflow of regional investments.
RCEP is set to be the world’s largest free trade agreement (FTA), initially comprising 16 member countries and engaging more than 3.6 billion people, or 48.1 per cent of the world population.
Fifteen countries – with the notable exception of India which withdrew in November last year – will sign the deal. The members have not yet been able to respond to India’s concerns regarding its trade deficit with many of them, according to The Nation.
Besides the 10 ASEAN member states, the other five partners are China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Even without India, RCEP will cover more than 2.2 billion people, or 30 per cent of the world population, a total GDP of more than $25.6 trillion (29.3 per cent of world GDP) and trade value of more than $10.4 trillion (27.4 per cent of global trade).
The deal will re-orient the trade and investment landscape in the region, encourage commercial exchanges among members and serve as a vital driving engine for the manufacturing sector.