RCEP talks must pick up pace, says Indonesia's ex-diplomat Marty Natalegawa

Dr Marty Natalegawa kicked off talks on the 16-member trade pact at a meeting of Asean nation states back in 2011 at the 10-member forum's annual summit in Bali.
Dr Marty Natalegawa kicked off talks on the 16-member trade pact at a meeting of Asean nation states back in 2011 at the 10-member forum's annual summit in Bali.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Negotiators from the RCEP countries - the Asean member states and China, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan - wrapped up their 23rd round of talks in Singapore last month. Analysts worry that elections in big member states like Indo
Negotiators from the RCEP countries - the Asean member states and China, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan - wrapped up their 23rd round of talks in Singapore last month. Analysts worry that elections in big member states like Indonesia and India will push talks into a sixth year.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Former Indonesian minister urges trade pact negotiators not to lose sight of issues at stake

The $23 trillion leviathan known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) may be unwieldy and frustrating, but negotiators of one of the world's biggest trade pacts must pick up the pace of talks or risk compounding the region's vulnerabilities to trade wars and wild currency swings.

"The negotiators should not lose sight of the wider context and issues at stake," Dr Marty Natalegawa, Indonesia's former foreign minister, told The Straits Times.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2018, with the headline 'RCEP talks must pick up pace, says ex-diplomat'. Print Edition | Subscribe