16 nations reach 2 more deals in RCEP talks
Sixteen economies, including Japan, China and 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, concluded negotiations in two more areas covered by the envisaged Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement.
Negotiators from the Asia-Oceania countries struck deals on customs procedures and trade facilitation and on government procurement during their 11-day meeting in Bangkok through Friday.
Although talks have yet to be concluded on 14 more elements of the multilateral trade pact, the participating countries find it possible to effectively reach a full RCEP agreement by the end of the year as scheduled, people familiar with the matter said.
Before the latest negotiation round, the countries, also including Australia, India, New Zealand and South Korea, had reached accord on economic and technical cooperation as well as on matters related to small businesses.
Keiya Iida, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Economic Affairs Bureau, told reporters on Friday that participants exchanged views more constructively than ever during the Bangkok meeting.
The talks are “progressing steadily,” he added.