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Trade ministers vow to do their best on RCEP

Jiji PressMANILA (Jiji Press) — Ministers from 16 Asia-Pacific countries on Sunday agreed to do their best to achieve significant outcomes by the end of the year in their talks on a proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact.

The ministers, meeting in Manila, failed to narrow gaps over tariff abolition and trade and investment rules, making it difficult to conclude the talks by the end of 2017 as sought by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The ministers called for continued improvement in market access offers while stressing the need for strengthened rules to enhance trade.

Points of difference and agreement are becoming clearer, Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko told a press conference after the meeting, expressing his determination to work to resolve remaining issues.

The 16 countries, including Japan, China, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN member states, plan to hold a working-level meeting in South Korea in October to make progress toward a summit meeting in November.

The countries started talks on the RCEP in May 2013, a free trade agreement that will cover about 50 percent of the world’s population and about 30 percent of the global economy.Speech

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