33rd ASEAN Summit, 13th East Asia Summit and 2nd RCEP Summit: Major Highlights

US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not be seen in attendance at the Summit. The Vice President Mike Pence will represent the US, while the Chinese side will be represented by Premier Li Keqiang.

Created On: Nov 16, 2018 15:29 ISTModified On: Nov 27, 2018 15:03 IST
33rd ASEAN Summit held in Singapore
33rd ASEAN Summit held in Singapore

The 33rd edition of the ASEAN Summit concluded on November 15, 2018 at Suntec Singapore Convention Centre, Singapore. The Summit also saw the conclusion of other related summits like 13th East Asia Summit (EAS), 2nd Regional Comprehensive Economic Summit, (RCEP) and ASEAN plus summits.

The Summit began on November 13, 2018. The opening ceremony of the summit was addressed by Lee Hsien Loong, Prime Minister of Singapore, Chairman of this year’s Summit. In his speech, Lee Hsien Loong called on ASEAN members and partners to uphold multilateralism and international cooperation and tackle common challenges including terrorism and climate change.

The Summit saw the presence of leaders of partner countries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, the US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were not in attendance. The Vice President Mike Pence represented the US, while the Chinese side was represented by Premier Li Keqiang.

Key Highlights

The leaders of ASEAN's 10 member countries reviewed ASEAN's achievements in the year 2018 while mapping out a new course for the year ahead.

Over 400 companies from over 100 countries took part as exhibitors in the summit.

Apart from leaders of all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, heads of 8 key partner nations of ASEAN also participated.

The ASEAN leaders adopted the ASEAN Smart Cities Framework and took stock of ASEAN’s achievements in 2018 in strengthening ASEAN’s resilience and innovation.

The ASEAN leaders, along with their counterparts from countries participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), discussed the process of the RCEP negotiations at the 2nd RCEP Summit.

The leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues with their counterparts at the 21st ASEAN Plus Three Summit and 13th East Asia Summit.

Singapore PM Lee handed over the ASEAN Chairmanship to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

PM Narendra Modi attended East Asia Summit, ASEAN-India Summit and Fintech Conference

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 13th East Asia Summit and ASEAN-India Summit on November 14-15 in Singapore. PM Modi also attended a dinner hosted by Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong.

On the sidelines of the 2nd RCEP Summit, East Asia Summit, and ASEAN Summit, PM Modi held bilateral talks with global leaders namely, US Vice President Mike Pence; Australian PM Scott Morrison; Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong; and Thailand PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

ASEAN-India Informal Breakfast Summit

The Prime Minister held interaction with ASEAN leaders at the ASEAN-India Informal Breakfast Summit. During the Summit, all the leaders reaffirmed cooperation in maritime domain and centrality of trade and investment towards prosperity of Indo-Pacific region.

PM Modi attended 13th East Asia Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also attended the 13th East Asia Summit (EAS). Leaders of 18 countries of Asia Pacific region of 10 ASEAN countries including India, US, Russia, Australia, South Korea and China discussed the ways to deepen the links and combat the common challenges.

The Prime Minister called for enhancing multilateral cooperation and economic and cultural ties among member-nations. He reiterated India’s vision of a peaceful, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, strengthening maritime cooperation and commitment to a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact.

It was PM Modi’s 5th East Asia Summit (EAS). India has been participating in the EAS since its inception in 2005. The EAS consists of 10 ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei and Laos), Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

PM Modi attended 2nd RCEP Summit

PM Modi attended the second RCEP Summit in Singapore with 16 member states. Prime Minister Modi highlighted the need for an early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement through multilateral and bilateral talks among the member countries.

PM Modi addressed Fintech Conference

PM Modi also addressed the audience during the Fintech Conference along with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. He became the first head of government to deliver the keynote speech at the Singapore Fintech Festival.

He launched APIX, a banking technology designed to reach two billion people without bank accounts worldwide. Fintech Conference is a part of Fintech festival which began on November 12, 2018.

India-Singapore Hackathon

PM Narendra Modi met and felicitated the winning teams of India-Singapore Hackathon. The NTU in Singapore and AICTE in India conducted the hackathon that included solving 8 problem statements

2nd RCEP Summit & 7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting concluded in Singapore

  • The Heads of participating countries of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) along with the ASEAN Members and ASEAN’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and New Zealand attended the 2nd RCEP Summit on November 14, 2018 in Singapore.
  • The leaders reaffirmed their commitment made at the launch of the RCEP negotiations to achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial economic partnership agreement, establishing an open trade and investment environment in the region.

  • They undertook the collective commitment to deliver on the expeditious conclusion of the RCEP negotiations to foster an open, inclusive, and rules-based trading system.
  • The leaders welcomed the conclusion of 7 Chapters, namely the Chapters on Economic and Technical Cooperation, SMEs, Customs and Trade, Government Procurement, Institutional Provisions, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures.
  • They reiterated the value of continued engagement with various stakeholders of the RCEP, including representatives from the business sector, NGOs and other stakeholders.

7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting

The Union Minister for Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu led the Indian delegation to the 7th RCEP Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on November 12-13, 2018. The Meeting was chaired by the Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore, Chan Chun Sing.

The Ministerial Meeting was held in preparation for the 2nd RCEP Leaders Summit in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a mega regional free trade agreement being negotiated amongst 16 countries, comprising 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) plus six ASEAN FTA partners, namely Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.

So far 6 Ministerial Meetings, 7 Inter-Sessional Ministerial Meetings and 24 rounds of the Trade Negotiating Committee at the technical level have been held.

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