Asia-Pacific Leaders Vow to Conclude RCEP Talks in 2019

Economy Politics

Singapore, Nov. 14 (Jiji Press)--Leaders from 16 Asia-Pacific countries vowed Wednesday to conclude a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement in 2019, putting aside their goal of reaching a substantial deal within this year.

"We are determined to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality, and mutually beneficial RCEP in 2019," the leaders said in a joint statement issued after their summit meeting in Singapore.

They underscored the "need to heighten" the momentum toward the conclusion of the RCEP talks, which were launched in 2013 by Japan, China, India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The summit took place after the 16 countries failed to achieve political breakthroughs on key subject areas at a ministerial session on Monday, due partly to India's cautious attitude toward the wide-ranging elimination and reduction of tariffs.

According to the joint statement, the RCEP negotiations have so far seen accords on seven of the 18 fields, including economic and technical cooperation, small and medium enterprises, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

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Jiji Press