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Countries stress RCEP's importance during post-COVID recovery

(Xinhua)    16:56, August 27, 2020

HANOI, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) -- Economic ministers of the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand on Thursday underscored the significance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Attending the eighth RCEP Ministerial Meeting via video conference, ministers of the 15 countries were "pleased with the significant progress made towards finalizing the agreement for signing" at the fourth RCEP Summit in November this year, said a joint media statement of the meeting released on Thursday.

The ministers recognized the "critical importance" of the RCEP "in light of ongoing uncertainties," stressing the deal's "significant role" in contributing to the growth and stability of the regional and global economy, according to the statement.

They agreed that the agreement's signing would enhance business confidence, strengthen the regional economic architecture, maintain the stability of the regional and global industrial chains and supply chains, and demonstrate the region's support for an open, inclusive and rules-based multilateral trading system, said the statement.

Noting the "unprecedented challenges" brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministers agreed on the necessity of open markets and joint cooperation and collaboration against COVID-19 for countries in the region.

The ministers also reiterated that the RCEP "remains open for India," according to the statement.

The meeting was chaired by the Vietnamese Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh.

The RCEP, initiated by the ASEAN in 2012, is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the bloc's 10 members and its six FTA partners China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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