Xinhua | 27 June 2023
Sri Lanka seeks entry into RCEP trade deal
COLOMBO, June 27 (Xinhua) — Sri Lanka has launched a fact-finding mission to explore avenues for an early entry into the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, a statement from the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.
A team of senior officials of the Sri Lankan government concluded the mission to Jakarta, Indonesia, on June 12-14, and Sri Lanka’s strong interest to enter into RCEP was well received by ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn, and a number of ambassadors of RCEP members in Jakarta, said the statement.
During the meetings, significance of economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other RCEP members and opportunities generated within the trade bloc for further economic integration for developing countries were highlighted.
The parties also discussed formalities of the accession procedure and way forward for an early agreement, said the statement.
It has been reported that it was the first ever fact-finding mission to RCEP by any country after it entered into force on Jan. 1, 2022, according to the statement.
The RCEP agreement, signed in November 2020 by 15 Asia-Pacific countries after eight years of negotiations, took effect on the first day of 2022, creating the world’s largest trade bloc.
RCEP comprises 15 members, the 10 ASEAN member states as well as China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.