Ministers from the 16 RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) attended the Fourth RCEP Ministerial Meeting held on 5 August 2016 in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
The Ministers noted four rounds of negotiations had concluded since they last met in Kuala Lumpur in August 2015 and welcomed the intensified efforts to advance market access negotiations for trade in goods, trade in services and investment. The Ministers also welcomed the progress made on text-based negotiations.
The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to achieve a “modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement” as envisioned when Leaders launched the negotiations in 2012. The Ministers recalled the mandate from Leaders to further intensify negotiation efforts, as articulated in the Joint Statement on the RCEP Negotiations of 22 November 2015.
The Ministers reiterated the importance of the RCEP agreement to the global economy, given its potential to serve as a confidence boost and to provide growth opportunities amidst global economic uncertainty. The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to an early conclusion of negotiations for a high quality, mutually beneficial and commercially significant RCEP Agreement given its potential to improve the economic outlook of RPCs, contribute meaningfully to broader and deeper economic integration in the region, support enhanced economic opportunities and strengthen economic cooperation.
Media release: ASEAN Ministerial Meetings, 4 August 2016