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RCEP leaders agree to wrap up free trade talks next year

  • November 15, 2018
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  • JMH Summary

All papers reported from Singapore on yesterday’s summit of the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) initiative, noting that the participating leaders agreed on a new goal of concluding the free trade negotiations in 2019 instead of this year. Sankei said the goal may be difficult to achieve given that in the upcoming bilateral trade talks, the U.S. may ask Japan to agree on a provision prohibiting it from concluding an FTA with China, which is an RCEP member. Because major national elections are set to be held in India, Indonesia, and several other RCEP states next year, the daily projected that the regional trade liberalization talks may become prolonged despite the updated target of reaching a rough agreement next year.

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