ASEAN Secretary General Le Luong Minh has affirmed that the participation of ASEAN member countries in both the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the recently commenced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will not adversely impact the regional integration process.

Four ASEAN members currently in the TPP negotiations are Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam, and there has been interest shown by other member states, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Laos. ASE AN dialogue partners, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand are also participants in the negotiations.

The "Business Times" quoted the Secretary General as saying at a media briefing following the 45th ASEAN Economic Ministers ( AEM -45) summit and related meetings in Brunei on Aug. 21 that, "We consider their participation as mutually complementary, rather than conflicting. We hope both talks will progress well."

Besides ASEAN's 10 members, the RCEP also involves free trade agreement partners, namely China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, while the TPP includes Canada, Chile, Peru, Mexico, the US and Japan.

The 19th round of the TPP will commence on August 22 and ends on August 30. For the first two days, trade ministers of ASE AN countries will also be in attendance.

Meanwhile, Brunei's Second Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Lim Jock Seng said ASEAN will be negotiating a free trade agreement with Hong Kong (China) and talks are set to start in early 2014./-VNA