Asia-Pacific Economy: Regional Trade Deal Participants Pledge To Reach A Settlement This Year



A.N. Basil | Business Times

Asian ministers met in Cambodia over the weekend to discuss a regional trade that seeks to cover 16 countries, including three of the region’s largest economies. The meeting was held amid easing tensions between China and the U.S.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, ministers from 16 countries joined in the meeting for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership deal. After Saturday’s meeting, participants agreed to push for “utmost effort” in reaching a deal this year.

Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said, “If it comes together this year, it will show that the world still wants multilateral free trade frameworks.” Despite efforts to close a deal during the weekend, an insider with knowledge of the negotiations said, “There wasn’t an in-depth discussion.”

India and a couple of other nations hesitated to commit to the deal due to upcoming elections. As a result, no progress was made yet again years after the first meeting was held for the RCEP. Only seven of the proposal’s 18 chapters were agreed on by participating ministers. Among the chapters that did not get an amicable agreement are e-commerce rules and tariffs.

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