Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals

Author(s): Blessing Gweshengwe *

Pp: 113-131 (19)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815123227123010011

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


An economic partnership can play a significant role in poverty reduction in the countries involved. The partnership’s contribution to poverty alleviation is, however, a function of its scope and the nature of participating countries, which could be constrained by various factors. Considering this, the chapter addresses the question of whether the RCEP can contribute meaningfully to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 1 within the ASEAN region. This aspect is yet to be subjected to scholarly examination. The chapter examines the potential of the RCEP to help ASEAN countries to eradicate poverty, the factors that could jeopardise this endeavour and the measures that could be taken to address these factors. Findings show that the RCEP could indeed contribute to the realisation of Sustainable Development Goal 1 in ASEAN countries since it has the potential to contribute to poverty eradication. This is because of the partnership’s capacity to, among other aspects, drive economic growth, boost real convergence and optimise the poverty eradication potential of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the ASEAN region. This contribution may, however, be jeopardised with the advent of adverse events like the COVID-19 pandemic, and because of political instability in some ASEAN countries. In order to mitigate the impact of both of these challenges, ASEAN countries could reinforce their social protection systems, intensify their commitment to the RCEP and address the needs of the losers in the RCEP.

Keywords: ASEAN, Economic Integration, Poverty Reduction, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, SDG 1.

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