RCEP pact put off until next year
Trade Ministers from 16member countries negotiating
the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, including India, China and the ASEAN, have decided to push the year-end target for a "substantial conclusion" of the talks by a year due to differences on key issues.
The RCEP also includes Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia and together the 16 nations account for 40 per cent of world trade. While most members, including many of the ASEAN countries, were keen to have a part-conclusion of the RCEP pact by the year-end, India, backed by Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, was of the opinion that market access issues needed to be ironed out both in goods and services and there was need for more time.