Relevant countries welcome the substantial progress made in the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), according to a joint declaration of the leaders published here on Sunday.
The document urged efforts to conclude the negotiations in 2016.
The RCEP is a significant path toward economic integration of the region, it said, noting it bears great significance in improving people's living conditions and stimulating economic development in the region.
The partnership is also conducive to promoting the fair development of economy and strengthening economic ties among would-be signatories of the RCEP, it said.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who is present at the releasing ceremony of the document, pledged that his country is ready to join efforts with other relevant parties to conclude the negotiations in 2016.
China is convinced that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the RCEP and other regional free trade arrangements can reinforce one another, so as to make positive contributions to realizing the joint goal of the free trade zone of the Asia-Pacific region, Li said addressing the 18th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China, Japan and South Korea leaders' meeting held here Saturday.
At the 18th China-ASEAN leaders' meeting, another event of the series of East Asia leaders' meetings, Li said the RCEP laid a foundation for the construction of a sound free trade system in the region, to realize the target of regional economic integration.
Besides the Chinese premier, leaders of ASEAN nations, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and India also attended the ceremony.
The RCEP is a proposed collective free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of ASEAN and six countries with which ASEAN has individual FTAs: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
RCEP negotiations, the largest in size of its kind in Asia at present, were officially launched in May 2013. So far, 10 rounds of talks and four ministerial meetings have been held. It covers 50 percent of the world's population and constitutes 30 percent of global GDP and trade volume.