Bangkok (VNA) – Thailand’s Deputy Minister for Commerce Sansern Samalapa has said signing the RCEP agreement would help boost confidence in the business sector and promote multilateral trade, while expressing his confidence the deal would help expedite the region's economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministers from participating countries to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on August 30 reaffirmed their commitment to signing the RCEP agreement in this November, and said they would invite India to return to the negotiating table.

They agreed that the region's market needed to be more open to accommodate flows of essential goods and services.

The RCEP is a free trade agreement among the 10 member states of ASEAN and its five partners, namely Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and the Republic of Korea. India withdrew from the talks in November 2019.

The RCEP has a population of almost 3.6 billion people or 48.1 percent of the world population. In 2019, the combined GDP of the grouping was worth more than 28.5 trillion USD or around 32.7 percent of the world's GDP.

Thailand's trade value with the RCEP member countries is currently worth 280 billion USD - 59.5 percent of the country's total trade value.

Thailand exports over 140 billion USD worth of goods to the 15 member countries or 57 percent of its total exports./.