SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Wednesday called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to continue attracting other big economies to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement.
"ASEAN should continue enhancing cooperation with external partners based on the principles of equity and mutual interest through maximizing the benefits of RCEP," Hun Sen, who was also the ASEAN chair for 2022, said in a speech during the opening ceremony of the 54th ASEAN Economic Ministers' Meeting and related meetings in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
On maximizing the benefits of RCEP agreement, he pointed out that ASEAN member states should do their utmost to implement their commitments and continue the negotiations on opening up the markets, with the aim of attracting more big economies to join the pact.
Entering into force on Jan. 1, 2022, the world's biggest free trade agreement includes 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand. The 15 states' total population, gross domestic product and trade all account for about 30 percent of the world total.
"RCEP will enhance the roles of multilateralism based on a rule-based international order, henceforth, promoting more cooperation and peaceful trade activities in the region," Thong Mengdavid, a research fellow at the Phnom Penh-based Asian Vision Institute, told Xinhua. ■