October 16, 2018
From October 12 (Fri.) to 14 (Sun.), 2018, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited the Republic of Singapore to attend the Sixth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting. Taking this opportunity, he held bilateral meetings each with H.E. Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore; H.E. Mr. David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, New Zealand; and H.E. Mr. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of the Development of Trade and Industry, the Philippines, and enriched discussions on the RCEP negotiations.
1. The Sixth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting
Minister Seko attended the Sixth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held on October 13, 2018. RCEP participating countries (RPCs) held intensive discussions to pave the way for addressing the remaining political issues toward substantial conclusion of the RCEP negotiations by the end of 2018, which was proposed at the ministerial meeting in Tokyo held in July 2018 and agreed to by RPCs at the ministerial meeting in Singapore held at the end of August 2018.
The format of this sixth meeting was small group-based discussions of the minsters and specific negotiators. The participants discussed solutions to overcome challenges concerning specific issues so as to bring negotiations to a substantial conclusion by the end of 2018, and made significant progress from the previous meeting.
Following these discussions, while appreciating some narrowing of gaps lying in market access negotiations, the ministers emphasized the need for further improvements. Regarding the field of rules, the ministers provided guidance on specific issues to urge all RCEP participating countries to continue to exert all efforts toward meeting the targets set out in the Package of Year-End Deliverables.
The ministers agreed that they will hold a negotiation meeting of the chief-negotiator level officials in New Zealand from October 18 to 27, 2018, and that following this, they will hold an RCEP Ministerial Meeting to hold discussions on details of a briefing to their leaders, prior to the Second RCEP Summit Meeting in November 2018.
2. Bilateral meetings
Minister Seko held bilateral meetings with Minister Chan, Singapore, on October 12, and with Minister Parker, New Zealand and Secretary Lopez, the Philippines, on October 13. He exchanged views on bringing the RCEP negotiations to a substantial conclusion by the end of 2018.
Bilateral meeting with Minister Chan, Singapore
Bilateral meeting with Minister Parker, New Zealand
Bilateral meeting with Secretary Lopez, the Philippines
Division in Charge
- Information on the RCEP Ministerial Meeting:
Economic Partnership Division, Trade Policy Bureau
- Information on the bilateral meetings:
Asia and Pacific Division, Trade Policy Bureau