5th negotiation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP)

30/06/2014    59

The 5th RCEP negotiation round between ASEAN and its 6 partners (India, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and China) was conducted from June 21 to 27, 2014 in Singapore.

Negotiation was conducted in trade in goods (custom, rule of origin, custom formalities and trade facilitation, SPS), standard, and TBT harmonizing, trade in service, investment, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and economic – technical cooperation.

At this round, 10 SEAN member countries and 6 partners focused on discussing pivotal issues including agreement’s structure, scope, tariff reduction modality, approach in trade in service and investment. Partners have open-mined exchange on value added aspects apart from existing 5 ASEAN+1 FTAs signed between ASEAN and its individual partners. Results of this negotiation round will be reported to RCEP Ministers’ Meeting to be held on August 27, 2014 in Nay-Pyi-Taw, Myanmar, for further guidance on negotiation acceleration.

Wrapping a week-long active negotiation, partners have clarification on the views, discussions the way to narrow difference in pivotal contents, as well as defined issues to be decided by Ministers including market-opening in goods, service, investment with benefits balanced for all RCEP joining parties.

Vietnamese delegation to 5th negotiation round was of representatives from Government’s Office, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, State Bank of Vietnam, Ministry of Information and Telecommunication, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Culture, Sport, and Tourism, Ministry of Public Security, and Ministry of Defense. Vietnam has been in close coordination with ASEAN countries in solidarity strengthening and promoting ASEAN’s role as leading in negotiation process to ensure benefits for ASEAN countries.

On November 20, 2012, in framework of 21st ASEAN Summit, Leaders of ASEAN countries and its 6 FTA partners announced launching RCEP negotiation. Accordingly, Agreement has been negotiated since beginning 2013, targeting on its finalization by end 2015. Five negotiation rounds had been conducted so far.

Countries joining RCEP include ASEAN member countries, India, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, China, and Australia. This dynamic region with high economic growth rate accounts for 47% and 28% of world’ population and GDP, respectively.

RCEP member-countries are Vietnam important trade-partners in both trade value and market-share. According to statistics, trade between Vietnam and Eastern Asian countries in 2013 accounted for 58.3% of total country’s trade volume. In 2013, with two-way trade turnover of 40.1 billion USD, ASEAN is Vietnam’s second large trade-partner, following China with trade value of 50.21 billion USD. Korea ranks the 5th with value of 27.33 billions which is followed by Japan with value of 25.26 billion USD.

RCEP countries are Vietnam’s important export markets with total export turnover of over 58 billion USD in 2013, accounting for 44% of total import – export turnover. They are also supply source for Vietnam with import value of 95.824 billion USD, accounting for 73% country’s import – export turnover.

In term of investment, Eastern Asia is important FDI source for Vietnam. By end of December 2013, FDI from Eastern Asia into Vietnam reached 124 billion USD and 39.4 billion USD, accounting, respectively, for 54% and 50.1% of total registered and implemented foreign capital in Vietnam.

Source: Multilateral Trade Policy Department- MOIT