Japan confirms support for quick agreement on RCEP trade pact


Japan is rendering support for Thailand to conclude the long-delayed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement during the Kingdom's chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha received the backing during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Wednesday.

The Government House announcement said the two leaders agreed on the need to conclude the RCEP, and Tokyo reiterated its support for Thailand to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) trade pact.

Thailand hopes attempts by the 10 Asean members and six free trade partners to finalise the China-backed RCEP will be completed in Bangkok next month during the Asean and other summits from Nov 2-4. Obstructions still needing resolution include market access and protected goods. Negotiations began in 2012.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its six free trade agreement partners - China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Thailand also seeks membership of the CPTPP as another venue to expand exports and investment.

Gen Prayut flew to Tokyo to attend the enthronement ceremony of Japanese Emperor Naruhito on Tuesday. He is due to return to Bangkok on Thursday.

Source: Bangkok Post