RCEP partners conclude 13th negotiating round in Auckland; three further rounds in 2016

The 13th round of negotiations for a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was held in Auckland, New Zealand, from June 12 to 18, 2016.

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) reports that all countries have now submitted initial offers for trade in goods and services, and initial lists of reservations for investment. Negotiations—with further rounds scheduled for August, October and December—are expected to go beyond the 2016 deadline.

In April 2016, Knowledge Ecology International leaked an October 16, 2015 version of the investment chapter. The leaked draft includes 14 articles covering provisions frequently included in trade and investment agreements, including most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment, minimum standard of treatment and prohibitions of performance requirements and expropriation. The negotiating partners also aim at creating an investor–state dispute settlement mechanism.

RCEP is a mega-regional trade and investment agreement being negotiated since 2012 between Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, as well as the negotiating bloc of ASEAN member states: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Participating countries account for roughly 50 per cent of global population, 30 per cent of global GDP and 25 per cent of global exports.

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