Implementation of RCEP Highlighted at ERIA High-Level Forum
Phnom Penh, 2-3 November 2022: Entered into force on 1 January 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) aims to strengthen economic linkages and enhance trade and investment related activities as well as contribute to minimising development gaps among the parties. The RCEP Agreement provides a modern, comprehensive, high-quality, and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement among the ASEAN Member States and ASEAN’s FTA partners forming the world’s largest regional trading block. As a ‘rules-based’ multilateral regional free trade agreement, RCEP will be important for regional and global pandemic recovery.
Convened by the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and the Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, a high-level forum was held to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of RCEP initiation and to handover two ERIA books to His Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN Sen, Prime Minister of the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia by Prof Hidetoshi Nishimura, the President of ERIA. The two books were ‘Dynamism of East Asia and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP): The Framework for Regional Integration’ and ‘The Comprehensive Asia Development Plan (CADP) 3.0: Towards an Integrated, Innovative, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economy’ which will be discussed at a symposium on 9 November 2022 in Phnom Penh.
This opening ceremony was presided over by His Excellency HUN Sen who delivered the keynote speech and recommendations for the effective implementation of the RCEP Agreement. This historic forum also included a high-level panel, a stakeholders’ panel, a session during which key chapters of the RCEP Agreement will be critically discussed among experts and practitioners. His Excellency Minister PAN Sorasak, Minister of Commerce for the Royal Kingdom of Cambodia, also awarded Prof Nishimura the Friendship Medal Class Moha Sena in recognition of his important contributions to the Kingdom of Cambodia.
In his keynote address, the Prime Minister commented ‘RCEP is an important mechanism and a strategy that demonstrates our unwavering commitment to safe-guarding the rules-based multilateral free trade system, maintaining economic openness and upholding a spirit of cooperation.’ He also commended ERIA for its ongoing research on RCEP, especially recognising the importance of ERIA’s second book on RCEP which ‘will serve as an important basis for making public and private sector awareness about opportunities of the RCEP Agreement which will contribute to increasing the effectiveness and feasibility of implementing the Agreement,’ he said.
Prof Nishimura, in his opening remarks, stressed the ‘importance for all of us to support the implementation of the RCEP’. He also highlighted the synergy between RCEP and ERIA’s CADP 3.0. ‘In fact, the strong regional framework for international trade promised by RCEP goes hand-in-hand with the idea of a well-connected ASEAN and East Asia region as envisioned in CADP 3.0. RCEP and CADP 3.0 reinforce one another in that they promote regional integration within an innovative, inclusive, and sustainable framework,’ stated Prof Nishimura.