Jakarta: Indonesian Minister of Trade (Mendag) Agus Suparmanto believes the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) can be completed this year.
Agus explained that RCEP includes nine working groups and seven working subgroups.
"The RCEP negotiations are very important. It is expected to be a counterbalance to the rampant protectionist measures," Agus said in a written statement on Monday, November 4, 2019.
"It must be completed substantively this year so that it can be signed in 2020," he added.
Director-General of International Trade Negotiations at the Ministry of Trade Iman Pambagyo said that 48 percent of the world's population, 32 percent of the world’s GDP, 29 percent of world trade, and 22 percent of the world’s foreign direct investment are all in the RCEP region, which makes it a large and profitable market.
"For Indonesia, RCEP is a challenge as well as a great opportunity," said Iman.
Iman currently serves as chair of the RCEP committee. According to him, completing negotiations between 16 countries with different levels of economic development is not easy. As a result, the progress is quite slow.
"It requires patience, creativity, and the ability to create concepts and ideas to resolve various issues,"added Iman.
Imanhas led the negotiations. for the last seven years. To date, there have been 28 rounds of negotiations. In addition, RCEP Ministerial meetings have also taken place seven times.