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RCEP trade ministers vow to reach agreement this year

  • March 3, 2019
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  • JMH Summary

All national dailies reported on Sunday on a trade ministerial meeting of the 16 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) members, including Japan, China, and India, held in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap on Saturday. The papers wrote that the participants reaffirmed their goal of concluding the ongoing negotiations by the end of this year and agreed to hold another ministerial meeting in August or later, releasing a joint statement saying they will “make utmost efforts to achieve the goal.” Asahi and Nikkei noted that the RCEP members have so far only agreed on tariffs and 6 other issues out of the 18 areas they are negotiating. Nikkei wrote that it will probably be difficult to achieve the goal because India is concerned that a large volume of cheap Chinese products could flow into the nation as a result of lowered tariffs. According to Nikkei, Trade Minister Seko stated at the meeting that a RCEP agreement would demonstrate the international community’s will to pursue free trade.

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