Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP, will this week visit Cebu, Philippines to discuss how to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with a group of Australia’s major regional trading partners.

The RCEP is a major new trade agreement between 16 countries, including nine of Australia’s 13 largest trading partners. RCEP countries account for around half the world’s population and a third of global GDP. “I will look for ways to advance the negotiations, particularly in the core areas of trade in goods and services and investment. Seeking commercially meaningful outcomes that deliver benefits to Australian business is our core focus,” Assistant Minister Pitt said.

Removing limitations to trade is a key priority for the Coalition Government in Australia’s transitioning economy. Any agreement that expands trade and investment adds to regional prosperity and benefits Australia as new jobs are created.

A successful RCEP has potential to boost regional economic confidence and integration.

ASEAN – which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year – is at the centre of the RCEP negotiation. Australia wants to reach a successful conclusion with ASEAN and the other major regional economies of the RCEP agreement: China, Japan, Korea, India and New Zealand.

Efforts to conclude a comprehensive, forward-looking RCEP agreement will send a strong signal about the economic future of the region.

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