MANILA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte stressed on Tuesday the need to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), saying it will help in further integrating the economies of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
"The RCEP will provide further impetus to our efforts (to integrate the ASEAN economies). Negotiations should conclude swiftly as decided by RCEP leaders in 2016," he said in a speech marking ASEAN's 50th anniversary.
The Philippines has committed to fast track the RCEP, a giant free trade pact that aims to tie together ASEAN's free trade agreements with each trading partners including Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.
In April, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Philippines will push for the "substantial conclusion" of RCEP that will expand the ASEAN market from 600 million people to 3.5 billion by year-end.
At the same time, Duterte said ASEAN must take a serious look at the economic integration of its members economies.
"ASEAN has a bigger stake than any other part of the world standing up against protectionism and securing the rules of the game in the international trade," he said.
Read the full story at Xinhua