Speaking before 10 leaders of ASEAN countries at the 30th ASEAN Summit on Saturday in Manila, Jokowi said there was a tendency for countries around the world to adopt protectionist policies, such as increased barriers on imported goods, in order to protect their economy.
The president further said that opening ASEAN to more economic cooperation opportunities with other regions and countries was the best solution to fight against protectionism.
The RCEP, if established, would exclude the United States and include its rival China.
"We need to minimize the development gap. We will make use of ASEAN's middle class to drive the ASEAN economy by strengthening small and medium enterprises," Jokowi said.
(Read also: Jokowi encourages ASEAN to take on global challenges)
"We want to see all countries in ASEAN move forward together. We don't want to see any member left behind as ASEAN progresses." (dan)