Brunei Darussalam has ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement upon depositing its instrument of ratification with the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Oct. 11.
According to a press statement from Brunei's Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) on Tuesday, "Brunei's timely ratification of the RCEP, the world's largest free-trade deal, signals our strong commitment to support the region's post-pandemic recovery efforts, strengthening our economic and trade linkages, creating new opportunities for our businesses as well as support for an open, inclusive, rules-based multilateral trading system."
Signed in November last year, the RCEP is a mega trade deal between 10 ASEAN member states, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Brunei is the sixth country to ratify RCEP, after Thailand, Singapore, China, Japan and Cambodia.
The free trade pact "establishes a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually-beneficial economic partnership between ASEAN and its Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners," the MoFE said.
"Being the world's largest regional FTA comprising about 30 percent of global GDP and about a third of the world's population, Brunei is expected to benefit from the RCEP as it will broaden and deepen our economic ties between the members and provide new opportunities for our producers and businesses especially in terms of market access given the level of liberalization for trade in goods, services and investment," the MoFE said.
"Realizing that its full potential can only be achieved once the agreement enters into force, Brunei Darussalam looks forward to its RCEP partners to expedite their respective domestic ratification procedures for the timely entry into force of the agreement," the ministry said.
The RCEP members have expressed their resolve to ratify the agreement before the end of this year and push for its entry into force by Jan. 1, 2022.
Ratifications from at least six ASEAN member countries and three of the other five member countries are needed for the trade deal to take effect.
Once in effect, the deal will eliminate tariffs on as much as 90 percent of goods traded between its signatories over the next 20 years.
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