A four-member delegation led by Dr. R.H. S. Samaratunga, Senior Economic Advisor to the President (Economic Stabilization, Recovery, and Growth) visited Jakarta from 12th to 14th June 2023, following a directive of H.E. the President and the Government strategy to transform the island nation into a fully developed nation by 2048. The purpose of the visit was to establish solid contacts, ascertain relevant facts on the accession procedure, and subsequent formal submission of the application/ letter of intent to RCEP Secretariat. During the three days visit to Jakarta, the delegation had comprehensive and productive meetings with Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary-General of ASEAN, H.E. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community, Ms. Anna Robeniol – Advisor to the Deputy Secretary-General for ASEAN Economic Community and the technical experts.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) among 15 ASEAN and non-ASEAN member states namely Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, Australia, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand. The milestone RCEP Agreement was signed on 15.11.2020 and came into force on 01.01.2022.
RCEP Member states account for a 2.2 billion population which is 30% of the world’s population and claimed for USD 25.6 trillion GDP which equals to 29.3% of the world’s total GDP in 2019. In addition, the intra- regional trade volume of RCEP stood at USD 10.4 trillion in 2019, which is 27.4% of the world’s trade volume and 19%of Global FDI.
During the meetings with Dr. Kao Kim Hourn, Secretary General of ASEAN and H.E. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community, highlighted the significance of the economies of ASEAN and RCEP member states and the opportunities generate within the membership for further economic integration for developing countries and also briefed on the formalities of accession procedure.
Further, Sri Lankan delegation had the opportunity to have fruitful meetings with Ms.Dina Kurniasari, Director for ASEAN Trade Negotiation from the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia and Mr. Sidharto R. Suryodipuro, Director General for ASEAN Cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia on the sideline to the engagements had with the ASEAN/RCEP Secretariat. During the two meetings, the two sides discussed the opportunities available to Sri Lanka in Indonesia to enhance trade, investment, and economic cooperation and further the ways and means of strengthening the presently available avenues.
In addition, Sri Lankan delegation interacted with the Permanent Representatives of ASEAN of five RCEP member states based in Jakarta, namely Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand
H.E. Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Indonesia, Capt. A.A.C. Karunasena, Counsellor (Defense) and Mrs. Heshani Premathilaka, Second Secretary (Commercial) were also joined Sri Lankan delegation during the meetings.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
23rd June 2023