June 18, 2019
The 26th Round of Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be held in Australia from June 22 to July 3, 2019.
From the Japanese side, Dr. Aki Tamura, Deputy Director-General for Trade Policy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry; Mr. Keiya Iida, Deputy Director-General, Economic Affairs Bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and representatives from other relevant ministries and agencies will attend the meeting.
In this round of negotiations, the meetings of the Trade Negotiating Committee, in which senior officials will participate, and market access negotiations on Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, and Investment, as well as negotiations on other areas such as Rules of Origin, Intellectual Property and Electronic Commerce, are scheduled to be held.
1. Outline of the RCEP
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed wide-area economic partnership under negotiations among ten ASEAN economies and six countries (Japan, China, ROK, Australia, New Zealand, and India; hereinafter referred to as the “FTA partner countries”).
2. History of the RCEP negotiations
- In November 2012, at the ceremony to launch negotiations for the RCEP, which was during the ASEAN-related Summit Meeting, leaders of the ASEAN economies and FTA partner countries announced the launch of RCEP negotiations. In May 2013, the first negotiation round was held in Brunei Darussalam. Participating countries have held 15 ministerial meetings and 25 negotiation rounds so far.
- At the RCEP ministerial meeting in March 2018, Minister Seko stated that Japan agreed with ASEAN economies to conclude RCEP by the end of 2018 if the economies secure a certain level of quality of the RCEP.
- In July 2018, Japan hosted an RCEP ministerial meeting in Tokyo for the first time as a non-ASEAN economy. Under the co-chairmanship of Minister Seko and Minister Chan, Singapore, participating countries held discussions on specific approaches to leading efforts to the conclusion of RCEP negotiations. They decided to discuss the issue at a ministerial meeting in August 2018, simulating a package of outcomes that would be compiled at the end of 2018.
- In August 2018, an RCEP ministerial meeting was held in Singapore and participating countries agreed that they will aim at “substantial conclusion” of the RCEP negotiations by achieving field-based goals as a package by the end of 2018.
- In October 2018, an RCEP ministerial meeting was held in Singapore and participating ministers assessed the progress in the RCEP negotiations and intensively discussed the remaining political points of contention toward the “substantial conclusion” of the negotiations by the end of 2018. They provided guidance on individual political points to the working-level officials.
- In November 2018, an RCEP ministerial meeting and an RCEP summit meeting were held. As an outcome, the leaders issued a joint leader’s statement, welcomed the substantial progress in the RCEP negotiations in 2018, and presented a resolution to conclude the RCEP negotiations in 2019.
- In March 2019, an RCEP ministerial meeting was held in Cambodia and participating countries confirmed the progress in negotiations involving market access and rules. In particular, they agreed that the member countries will hold additional negotiation meetings on the fields about which discussions should be accelerated and that they will hold the next ministerial meeting in August 2019.
Division in Charge
Economic Partnership Division, Trade Policy Bureau