Leaders of 16 RCEP Nations Give Up Accord by Year-End

Politics

Bangkok, Nov. 4 (Jiji Press)--Leaders of 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, at a meeting in a Bangkok suburb Monday, gave up on concluding the talks by the end of the year while affirming their intention to sign the free trade deal in 2020.

Fifteen of the 16 nations, excluding India, will proceed with work toward signing the RCEP next year, the leaders said in a joint statement adopted at the meeting. From Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took part in the gathering.

The RCEP negotiations kicked off in 2013. At the summit in November 2018, the participating countries expressed their determination to conclude the negotiations this year.

Since then, the talks have made substantial progress, partly because China became positive on wrapping up the negotiations amid its escalating trade friction with the United States.

But India has remained cautious. The South Asian nation and the 15 other countries were unable to find a middle ground at a ministerial meeting on Friday and informal discussions on Sunday.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press