The Jakarta Post
Trade officials from 16 Asia-Pacific countries kicked off Monday the intercessional meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) to accelerate talks.
The two-day meeting aims to seek breakthroughs in negotiating modalities in the agreement of trade in goods that will serve as a basis for the sixth round of talks scheduled in India in December, according to Trade Ministry director general for international trade cooperation Bachrul Chairi.
'The meeting we're carrying out in Jakarta is expected to ease our steps to agree some modalities ahead,' Bachrul told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting.
Up to the fifth round of talks in Singapore in June, the 10 members of ASEAN and its six major trading partners ' Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand ' still could not reach a major agreement on core issues pertaining to the trade in goods and services as well as investment, raising fresh concern on whether the target of sealing the deal by next year is attainable.
The conclusion of the talks will lead to the creation of an integrated market across the Asia Pacific of approximately 3.4 billion inhabitants with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$21.4 trillion.(+++)
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