Substantial progress made on RCEP

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor has welcomed a commitment to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations next year following substantial progress this year.

A Joint Statement was issued by the Leaders of the 16 RCEP countries today in Singapore, confirming RCEP negotiations have advanced to the final stage.

“When concluded, the RCEP Agreement will anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement with half the world’s population and markets that take more than half our total exports,” Damien O’Connor said.

“It will also provide us a free trade relationship with India, a fast-growing economy with a GDP of more than 2.6 trillion in 2018.

“RCEP is a counterbalance to the rising protectionism that threatens the global rules-based trading system.

“RCEP negotiations were launched in November 2012 and include 16 countries: New Zealand, Australia, the 10 countries of ASEAN (the Association of South East Asian Nations), China, India, Japan and South Korea.

“Seven Chapters of the agreement have now been concluded including Government Procurement, Customs Procedures, Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures, and Standards and Technical Regulations – which will improve the trading conditions for New Zealand businesses into the RCEP economies.

“RCEP countries have worked intensively this year, under Singapore’s leadership as ASEAN host for 2018, to bring RCEP close to conclusion.

“There is a strong resolve to build on the current momentum and wrap up RCEP negotiations in 2019,” Damien O’Connor said.