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Duterte pushes for RCEP conclusion ‘to narrow development gap’

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte called for the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Sunday.

During the 16th ASEAN-India Summit in Thailand, Duterte urged India to conclude the mega-trade pact “to narrow development gap,” saying that poverty alleviation and inequality reduction are shared goals of ASEAN and India.

RCEP is a multilateral trade agreement between the 10 ASEAN member states – Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – and its six free trade agreement partners namely, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and India.

Malacañang said Duterte also pushed for the adoption of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific as part of ASEAN’s recognition of the deepening engagement with India.

The President cited the need to broaden cooperation in science, technology, innovation, educational and vocational training exchanges, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said Duterte also noted that like India, the Philippines focuses on the blue economy, particularly the sustainable management of coastal and marine resources.

He likewise raised the urgency to jointly counter marine debris generation, monitor the movement of marine litter, and evaluate systems of marine pollution.

“Once again, the world has witnessed that foremost in the mind of the President of the Philippines is the interest of his nation and his people with due consideration and respect to the concerns of others, and that he will not waver in expressing the same explicitly before the international stage,” the Palace said.

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