The Jakarta Post
Negotiators of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have been unable to reach an agreement on the issue of fair competition, failing to meet a deadline set during the 2017 RCEP Summit in the Philippines.
According to Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita, Japan was the only country who did not agree with the specific chapter in the document.
“In this phase, ministers must offer solutions and be ready to adjust their ambitions to reach an agreement for our mutual interest,” Enggartisto said as reported by kontan.co.id.
The RCEP involves 10 ASEAN member countries plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Once it is agreed, the RCEP will cover 48 percent of the world’s population and 38 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 25 percent of trade.
Enggartisto added that negotiators had so far agreed on seven chapters, five of which were completed after the 2017 RCEP Summit, including deals on small and medium enterprises, customs and trade facility procedures, government procurements, institution provisions and dispute settlements.
China and India, who are known to staunchly defend their positions, agreed to be more flexible in the latest negotiation, while Japan has been insistent on putting its own national interest ahead, he said.
However, Enggartisto said he was optimistic that the negotiations, which are also closely related to the political issues of each participating country, could be settled by 2019. (bbn)