Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham (Photo: AAP)

Sydney (VNA) – Representatives from countries in the Asia-Pacific region gathered in Melbourne, Australia on June 27 for negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Speaking to the media prior to the negotiation, Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said that all 16 countries engaging in the RCEP will have secret talks on the contents of RCEP, one of the trade deal with greatest economic significance in the world.

He underlined that over the past years, the increase of global trade regulations has created economic miracles for Australia.

Although the country cannot help deal with the US-China trade tension, it will seek new trade opportunities through promoting the signing of multilateral agreements, he stated.

The minister said that Australia hopes that with the efforts of Australia and other countries in the region, the RCEP negotiations can be concluded within this year.

Earlier, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita showed their support to the idea that RCEP negotiations should be finished before the US-China trade tension escalates and causes long-term economic damage.

RCEP is considered one of the biggest trade deals in the world, involving China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and 10 ASEAN countries, which is home to 45 percent of the world population.

The combined gross domestic product of the RCEP members accounts for up to 28 percent of the global GDP and 30 percent of the world trade value.-VNA