RCEP ministers take stock of negotiations, press for 2019 outcome

Ministers from the 16 countries negotiating RCEP gathered in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on March 2 for an intersessional meeting to take stock of negotiations and reaffirm their revised goal of concluding the talks this year.

RCEP brings together the 10 members of ASEAN and their six FTA partners: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. Negotiations have been underway since 2012.

Negotiators had previously met in Bali, Indonesia, from February 19–28, which included meetings of working groups devoted to trade in goods and services, as well as the investment working group, among others. They subsequently reported progress on market access and text-based negotiations, according to a meeting summary released by the Australian government.

The group’s negotiators will meet again in Melbourne, Australia, from June 28 to July 3, with ministers due to hold another intersessional meeting in August.