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China cites RP’s key role in Asean

A visiting high-level Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Wang Yang has underscored the crucial role the Philippines will play in the proposed China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
In his meeting with Duterte Cabinet officials led by Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez in Davao City, Wang also expressed China’s support for the Philippines’ chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year.
According to the Department of Finance (DoF), Wang emphasized during that meeting last week in Davao City that China considers the Asean as a “diplomatic priority” and that the Philippines, as chair of the Asean this year, will “make a big contribution in the regional cooperation.”
“Secretary Dominguez responded that together with China, the Asean can lead growth in the regional economic front that is not only a rapid one but inclusive to all members of society,” the DoF said.
In that meeting, Dominguez also shared the Duterte administration’s optimism on the early conclusion of the talks on the China-led RCEP.
“We look forward to continue the discussions on the promotion of free trade partnership via the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership where China is also taking the lead. We are very much optimistic for its early conclusion which would help us further diversify our export markets,” Dominguez said at the meeting.
Wang cited “the Philippines’ irreplaceable role in the discussions of RCEP and highlighted that ‘Asean centrality’ will be crucial in the conclusion of the agreement,” the DoF said.
According to the Asean website, the RCEP negotiations were launched by leaders from the 10 Asean member-states (Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam) and six Asean free trade partners (Australia, People’s Republic of China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea and New Zealand) during the 21st Asean Summit and Related Summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November 2012.
Its membership of 16 Asian countries account for almost half of the world’s population, almost 30 percent of global GDP and over a quarter of world exports.
It covers trade in goods and services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property rights, competition policy, and dispute settlement, among other issues. It does not cover labor, environment and state-owned enterprises.

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