A rice factory in Bangkok, Thailand (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand aims to conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and fully implement the ASEAN Single Window (ASW) for all 10 member countries by the end of this year.

At a press briefing on the ASW in Songkhla province, Director-General of the Thai Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations Auramon Supthaweethum said completing the RCEP talks by the end of this year is one of the ministry’s top economic priorities to counter the rise of protectionism around the world and mitigate negative impacts of the US-China trade war.

She noted that when the negotiations are concluded, the RCEP will be the largest multilateral trade pact in history, encompassing China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the 10 ASEAN nations. 

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, the official added.

This agreement consists of 20 chapters, seven of which were completed last year. Thailand, which holds the ASEAN Chair in 2019, aims to conclude the remaining 13 chapters this year, ranging from trade in goods and services, investment liberalisation, rules of origin, intellectual property regulations to e-commerce competition regulations.

This year, there are four rounds of negotiations at the minister level, and another four at the director-general level, Auramon said.

Meanwhile, the ASW is another priority to make sure that all the 10 ASEAN members will use it by the end of this year. It will integrate the countries’ different single-window systems via electronic exchange of trade-related documents to expedite cargo clearance and boost cross-border trade. 

Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia have implemented the ASW since the beginning of 2018.-VNA