S. Korea urges conclusion of RCEP negotiations by 2018

  • South Korea will work to support the early conclusion of drawn out negotiations for an Asian free trade agreement, South Korea’s trade minister said 14 Nov 17.
  • In a meeting of leaders from 16 countries taking part in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Kim Hyun-chong also urged joint efforts to fight global trade protectionism
  • The RCEP currently involves 16 countries, including the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as Australia, China, India, Japan and New Zealand.
  • So far, 20 rounds of RCEP negotiations have been held since the first round in Jun 13. No major breakthrough has been made despite nine rounds of ministerial dialogue held in addition to the official negotiations.
  • “Our government plans to actively contribute to RCEP negotiations by acting as a mediator to suggest reasonable compromises while maximizing our national interest to help reach a comprehensive, high-level and mutually beneficial deal in the near future,” it said.
  • The RCEP, if signed, will be one of the largest regional free trade arrangements ever reached, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
  • In 2016, the 16 countries taking part in RCEP negotiations accounted for half of the global population, as well as 32% of global GDP and 29% of global trade.

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