Asian-Pacific ministers admit no RCEP agreement by year-end

Monday, 2017-09-11 04:43:34
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NDO/VNA - Economic ministers from 16 Asian-Pacific countries acknowledged on September 10 that an agreement on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will not be finalised by the end of the year.

The ministers involved in negotiating the RCEP, an alternative trade pact to the floundering Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact, in Manila, the Philippines, stated that they will strive to make major progress by November when the leaders of the 16 nations will meet in Manila.

The RCEP is the only option available to the current negotiations of the TPP, said Philippine trade undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo.

The countries participating in the RCEP abandoned the target of concluding the negotiations within this year due to differences in tariff reductions and elimination targets, as well as the services to be opened up, according to Rodolfo.

The 16 nations are China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, Australia and New Zealand, and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations members.

The RCEP is viewed as an extended trade agreement of ASEAN with its partners, covering half the world’s population, and 30% of the global gross domestic product (GDP).