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ASEAN+6 start regional FTA talks

Jakarta Post, Indonesia

ASEAN+6 start regional FTA talks

10 May 2013

ASEAN trade officials, along with its six partners, kicked off talks on a regional trade agreement in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam, on Thursday. The talks began with the establishment of the trade negotiating committee that would discuss various trade and investment issues until next Monday, Trade Ministry director general for international trade cooperation Iman Pambagyo said.

“We will continue to discuss pending issues, mainly a scoping paper for agreements on trade in goods and services, as well as investment,” said Iman, who also chaired the committee, in a text message. The talks are scheduled to finish by the end of 2015 and the agreement is slated to create 16-country integrated market in the Asia-Pacific region of around 3.4 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$20 billion.

The six countries outside ASEAN joining the talks are Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, all of which have already signed separate free trade agreements (FTAs) with the Southeast Asia’s grouping.