Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Monday that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which entered into force earlier this year, will be a booster for regional and global economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 pandemic.
In a video message to mark the ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Day which was broadcast on the state-run National Television of Cambodia (TVK), Hun Sen said the full and effective implementation of the RCEP agreement is a priority.
RCEP will stimulate economic recovery in the post-pandemic era, create jobs, and strengthen the supply chain in the region and the world as a whole, he said.
"As the chair of ASEAN 2022, Cambodia will work closely with RCEP countries to promote the full and effective implementation of the RCEP agreement to further intensify the facilitation of cross-border trade movements," he added.
The RCEP comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries including 10 ASEAN member states -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam -- and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
Being the world's largest trade bloc, RCEP established a market of 2.2 billion people or 30 percent of the world population with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 26.2 trillion U.S. dollars, which represents around 30 percent of global GDP and 28 percent of global trade.
Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, said RCEP has offered opportunities to regional countries to defend trade liberalization and promote economic cooperation, which are crucial to the post-COVID-19 recovery.
"It is a strategic accomplishment for the ASEAN Economic Community," he told Xinhua.
He said the RCEP enables the reduction of 90 percent of regional trade tariff and non-tariff barriers over the next 20 years, which greatly enhance the flows of goods and services, deepen economic linkage and increase regional competitiveness.
"The successful story of the RCEP could serve as a model and hope for cross-regional economic cooperation and connectivity in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era," Mengdavid said.
According to an Asian Development Bank's study, the RCEP will increase the member economies' incomes by 0.6 percent by 2030, adding 245 billion U.S. dollars annually to regional income and 2.8 million jobs to regional employment.
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