The 16-RCEP countries’ trade ministers have reiterated their determination for a regional trade agreement that benefits economies of all the member states.
The Straits Times, an English-language daily broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore, reported that the ambitious deal is on track for a substantial agreement by the end of this year.
Quoting Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, the newspaper said the deal is expected to benefit economies at different levels of development.
A trade deal with RCEP countries would mean 3.5 billion consumers for 🇦🇺 exporters. Discussing the pathway forward for deeper regional economic engagement with counterparts at today’s RCEP meeting 🇨🇳 🇯🇵 🇰🇷 🇸🇬 🇳🇿 🇹🇭 🇲🇾 🇮🇩 🇮🇳 🇧🇳 🇰🇭 🇱🇦 🇵🇭 🇻🇳 🇲🇲 🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/LFRVOfvyOu
— Steven Ciobo (@StevenCiobo) July 1, 2018
The development comes amid the reiterating threat of a global trade war after the U.S. imposed tariffs on some imports from China, Canada, European Union and Mexico.
“What is important is that people commit to the process in good faith. This is so that challenges and each other’s sensitivities can be discussed openly.”
Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said: “What is important is that people commit to the process in good faith. This is so that challenges and each other’s sensitivities can be discussed openly.
“Each of us can then exercise maximum flexibility in the positions we want to adopt, taking into account not only our own interests but also those of the partner countries,” Mr. Chan said.
The meeting of the 16 RCEP trade ministers ended with the state to “work with a greater focus on finding breakthroughs.”
The joint statement of the RCEP summit will “send a strong and powerful signal to the world of our belief in free and open trade with benefits for all our respective people,” Mr. Chan said.
“In the principle of rules, we continue to look at quality – but we are prepared to bend flexibly as well.”
On the same note, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said: “We should enhance our level of maturity and present a final package with such issues narrowed down.”
“In the principle of rules, we continue to look at quality – but we are prepared to bend flexibly as well,” Mr. Seko said.
International CSOs strongly appealed their concern on Liberalization of investment, ISDS, seed rights of small farmers, impact on climate change etc. to the RCEP chief negotiator at the stakeholder meeting. intersessional negotiating meeting, June 28, Tokyo@bilaterals_org #RCEP pic.twitter.com/jMnUtW4MVj
— 内田聖子/Shoko Uchida (@uchidashoko) June 29, 2018
Warning of losing the momentum, Singapore’s Mr. Chan said: “If we miss this moment, it will be very difficult for us to sustain the momentum going forward because various countries will face various domestic circumstances that might not allow us to sustain this momentum easily.
“All the countries can see the end in sight and are enthusiastic and determined to reach – and cross – the finishing line,” Mr. Chan added.