ASEAN, partners including India likely to form world's largest economic bloc
ASEAN and six of its dialogue partners including India, are expected to start negotiations early next year on a proposed economic partnership which will form the world's largest economic bloc.
Negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partner-ship (RCEP), an initiative involving the 10 ASEAN members and its partners that also includes Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, are expected to start in February.
According to the Star, the RCEP is aimed at consolidating Free Trade Agreements signed between ASEAN and its dialogue partners to ease trade procedures and boost the flow of trade and investment within the Asia-Pacific region.
Officials said the idea was to create a single FTA between ASEAN and its dialogue partners.
According to the report, the potential is huge as it involves a single market with more three billion people and a combined GDP of about 17 trillion dollars.
Here, the leaders will also look at the deadline for the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2015 when member countries must remove all trade barriers, the report said.