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Thailand ratified regional free trade agreement

Bangkok, Nov 1 (Prensa Latina) Thailand's Minister of Commerce, Jurin Laksanawisit, informed today that his country ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the largest free trade agreement on the planet.

In a statement, Laksanawisit said the ratification would be a boost to the Asian nation’s trade with the area, which accounted for 53 percent of exports last year.

A few days ago, members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed at a virtual summit to activate the pact before the end of January next year.

Thailand thus joins Singapore, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos, which had already done so previously. Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines yet to joint the pact.

During the Summit, the leaders of Malaysia and Vietnam, Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pham Minh Chinh, respectively, pledged to ratify the pact in November.

The RCEP also includes China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, although the latter three have not yet ratified it.

Together, these 15 states account for about 30 percent of global GDP and a similar proportion of world trade and population.

The RCEP will eliminate 90 percent of import tariffs within 20 years of coming into force and will also establish common rules on investment, e-commerce and intellectual property.