Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Keith Pitt MP, will visit Manila this weekend to advance negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with Australia's major trading partners in the region.

Of the 16 Indo-Pacific countries involved in the RCEP negotiations, ten are among Australia's top 15 trading partners.  RCEP countries account for half of the world's population and a third of global GDP.

The RCEP Agreement would help Australia take advantage of the economic opportunities in what is the fastest-growing region in the world.

"The RCEP Agreement would provide important opportunities for Australian businesses by securing successful market access outcomes on goods, services and investment. It would also address business priorities such as leveraging the e-commerce market," Assistant Minister Pitt said.

Mr Pitt will also participate in events marking ASEAN's 50th anniversary. As a bloc, ASEAN is Australia's third-largest trading partner, behind China and the EU. RCEP will build upon ASEAN's existing free trade agreements, including the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA. It will further deepen our trade and economic links with ASEAN and its 10 member countries.

The Government is committed to strengthening Australia's economic linkages with the most dynamic region in the world.

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