Cambodian PM proposes standalone secretariat for coordinating implementation of RCEP-Xinhua

Cambodian PM proposes standalone secretariat for coordinating implementation of RCEP

Source: Xinhua| 2022-08-03 14:51:30|Editor: huaxia

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Wednesday proposed the establishment of a standalone secretariat for coordinating implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, which entered into force in January.

Speaking at the opening session of the 55th ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Foreign Ministers' Meeting held here, Hun Sen said the initiative is aimed at maximizing the potential of the RCEP.

"I believe we do need to have a standalone Secretariat as soon as possible, to coordinate effective implementation of the RCEP that came into force last January," he said. "Cambodia is ready to host this RCEP Secretariat. We have even thought of where in Phnom Penh, the Secretariat should be located, while we are working to formulate our detailed proposal."

"I hope Cambodia can win the support of fellow ASEAN member states, as well as all RCEP participating countries when we submit our proposal officially," he added.

The RCEP comprises 15 Asia-Pacific economies including 10 ASEAN member states and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Hun Sen said the RCEP taking effect on Jan. 1, 2022 was a milestone in the trade and investment relations among its members, as the region and the world are struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being the world's largest trade bloc, the RCEP establishes 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.

Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's undersecretary of state and spokesperson Penn Sovicheat said the RCEP would inject new impetus into regional and global economic growth in the long term.

"The RCEP will give a big boost to our economy in the post-pandemic era," he told Xinhua. "Under this mega pact, Cambodia is expected to see a year's export growth between 9.4 percent and 18 percent, which will contribute to the national economic growth between 2 percent and 3.8 percent."

Senior economist Ky Sereyvath, director-general of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the RCEP has served as a driving force for regional and global economic growth.

"It will help Cambodia and other member countries quicken their economic recovery from the pandemic," he told Xinhua. "I believe that this trade pact will become a new center of gravity for global trade in the future."