Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said Sri Lanka was intending to become a member of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which is the world’s largest free trade area that came into effect on January 1, 2022, the Foreign Ministry said.
He said Sri Lanka has submitted the Letter of Intent to join the RCEP to the ASEAN Secretariat on June 28, 2023.
Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam are the 15 founding members of the RCEP. The RCEP became open for new members from July 01, 2023.
The Minister said this at the 30th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Ministerial Meeting held on July 14, 2023 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The ARF is an Asia-Pacific region centric security dialogue mechanism inaugurated in 1994 in Thailand which seeks to promote regional development and prosperity through open and inclusive dialogue while recognizing challenges to regional peace, security and prosperity. The ARF has 27 member states and Sri Lanka has been a member since 2007.
Addressing the forum, Foreign Minister Sabry highlighted the important areas of cooperation for Sri Lanka, including maritime security, disaster management, defence related confidence building measures and preventive diplomacy, and for sustaining the growing economic dynamism and prosperity of the region. He also welcomed the steady advancement in the areas of cooperation in the ARF and unreservedly supported the process.