A group picture of delegations from the 16 participating countries who attended the 4th RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore on March 3. (Photo: Ministry of Trade)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Ministers from 16 countries participating in the seventh Ministerial Meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Siem Reap, Cambodia, are committed to holding more inter-session meetings to the pact which will be completed in 2019, according to a joint statement.

To reach the target deadline, the Ministers agreed to hold a meeting between sessions in every one or two negotiations. The RCEP Trade Negotiation Committee is claimed to have made good progress in terms of market access and text-based negotiations.

But at the same time, the ministers realized that much work still had to be done to advance both aspect of negotiations. So that, the ministers urge all participating countries to overcome certain sensitivities while working towards achieving commercially balanced and balanced results.

Although the deadline is imminent, the ministers remain confident that the chapters and attachments that will form the RCEP Agreement can be concluded immediately.

According to them, collective responsibility of all participating countries to ensure progress by overcoming the challenges of negotiations and finding solutions to remaining problems through constructive engagement is deemed necessary.

As known, the discussion of the partnership involving 10 ASEAN countries and six partners of this free trade agreement has been going on for 6 years. While, this year was determined as the finalization of the agreement.

If approved, RCEP will be the largest regional trade pact that covers more than 48 percent of the world’s population, 38 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product, and 42 percent of world trade.

The RCEP meeting was opened by Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, and chaired by the Deputy Minister of Commerce of Thailand, Acting Minister of Trade H.E. Chutima Bunyapraphasara.

In the meeting, they are also reviewing the development of the 2nd RCEP Summit on Nov. 14, 2018 in Singapore. And after this, RCEP Ministers agreed to meet further at the 8th RCEP Ministerial Meeting in August 2019, after the 27th TNC RCEP Meeting and Related Meetings.

Written by Staff Editor, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com