The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership coalition of ministers for trade of the concerned countries is on the verge of concluding the six-year negotiation on free trade. The Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore, Chan Chung Sing urges the negotiators to be flexible enough to reach a conclusion and seize the opportunity to end the talks with a credible package for free trade by the end of 2018.
On July 1st, the ministers of trade of Singapore and Japan, together with other representatives from Australia, Vietnam, Laos, New Zealand, India, Brunei, South Korea, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, and Myanmar, converged in Tokyo for a more extensive deliberation. In attendance too was the general Secretary for Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dato Lim Jock Hoi.
The ministers negotiated on how to promote extensive multilateral trade and opening up of new markets globally. They sighted that the only way to curb unilateral trade which poses a danger to the Free Market trading environment is to encourage RCEP recommendations.
Negotiations have taken longer with a comprehensive discussion of only 2/18 chapters of the package: Economic and technical cooperation and small and medium-sized enterprises. Sections that have raised disagreements include electronic commerce and data, agricultural trade, data management, and intellectual property rights.
The ASEAN and the partner countries (6) are working out on having a more adjustable talk. In the next meetings in Singapore and Thailand, they will work on leveling approaches to accommodate countries at different development levels. The negotiators are advised to be flexible regarding engagement terms to hasten the process. They will also be looking at harmonizing the approach towards competitive countries who offer common supplies within the region. Besides, the ASEAN block is working on investment liberalization among member countries. The intention is to open more investment flows in the region.
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