RCEP Deal Still Uncertain after Negotiators' Meet

Politics

Danang, Vietnam, Sept. 28 (Jiji Press)--Japan, China, South Korea and 13 other countries failed to make substantial progress in talks on the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade deal at a meeting of their negotiators that ended Friday.

The failure made it uncertain whether the 16 countries, also including members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, will achieve their goal of hammering out an RCEP agreement at a summit meeting slated for November.

Still, the negotiators, meeting in the central Vietnamese city of Danang, agreed that the 16 countries will hold a ministerial meeting in Bangkok on Oct. 12 with the aim of achieving a breakthrough in the RCEP negotiations.

"We'll aim to conclude a high-quality pact by the end of the year," Yasuhiko Yoshida, deputy director-general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Economic Affairs Bureau, told reporters in Danang.

At their meeting that started on Sept. 19 and extended to late in the evening on Friday, the negotiators discussed the lowering of tariffs on goods, the liberalization of the services sector, the rules for e-commerce and other issues.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press