Home » Breaking News, Customs & Trade » Asean Plus 3 endorse pacts boosting 15 years of cooperation

The ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Leaders Summit held November 19 adopted two documents that enhance cooperation between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Plus Three countries of China, Korea, and Japan.

The APT Plus Three endorsed the Joint Statement on the Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation and the Leaders’ Statement on ASEAN Plus Three Partnership on Connectivity.

The summit, held at the Peace Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, was chaired by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen and attended by the leaders of the ASEAN and Plus Three countries.

The heads of states also discussed the future direction of the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation and exchanged views on regional and international issues, an official ASEAN statement said.

Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation said the regional trade agreements forged recently in the Asia-Pacific are consistent with APEC’s region-wide goal for a free trade area, and could eventually be merged through new convergence mechanisms being developed within APEC.

Muhamad Noor, APEC Secretariat executive director ambassador, said that the regional trade agreement negotiations, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership which was just given an informal October 2013 target, and the newly announced talks for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and trilateral free trade agreement between China, Japan and Korea, involve a large number of APEC member-economies.

“If in the end they result in greater liberalization, this would be welcome within the context of APEC’s broader efforts to advance growth and prosperity through the promotion of greater trade and economic integration, and could offer new paths to achieving a region-wide free trade zone that is a shared objective of members,” said Noor.

APEC member-economies continue to work on concrete initiatives toward future trade agreements. This includes the endorsement this year of new APEC transparency guidelines for regional trade agreements and free trade agreements.

“APEC’s work on transparency promotes convergence and contributes to APEC’s regional economic integration agenda, further supporting the realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific,” said Noor.

There are about 50 regional trade agreements and free trade agreements between APEC’s 21 member-economies, said APEC.


Photo courtesy of ASEAN

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