Asean’s free trade pact remains ‘a work in progress’
By Frances G. Mangosing
INQUIRER.net
November 14, 2017 at 4:50 pm

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement between 10-member states of Asean with Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, is still a “work in progress.”

“The substantial conclusion of the RCEP remains as a work in progress. Nonetheless, the level of engagement of the RCEP has been unprecedented,” said Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo on Tuesday.

An inaugural RCEP Summit is also set in the afternoon following three ministerial meetings this year.

“This is indicative of the importance of all parties are giving to the RCEP,” Rodolfo said.

A report of Nikkei Asia Review quoting Japan’s trade minister Hiroshige Seko said there are still a lot of issues to discuss before they come up with a deal.

He also advised to hold more frequent bilateral focused on specific issues to fasten the negotiations.

The formal discussions for the RCEP started in 2012 in Cambodia. /jpv

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