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METI Minister Seko Visits the People’s Republic of China

August 5, 2019

From August 2 (Fri.) to 4 (Sun.), 2019, Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, visited the People’s Republic of China to attend the Eighth Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Intersessional Ministerial Meeting. Taking this opportunity, Minister Seko held bilateral meetings with: H.E. Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore; H.E. Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Thailand; H.E. Mr. Zhong Shan, Minister of Commerce, China; and H.E. Mr. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Australia. The two sides in each meeting enriched discussions on RCEP.

1. Eighth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting

Minister Seko attended the Eighth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting held on August 3 (Sat.) and held discussions with other participating ministers concerning future approaches to advancing RCEP negotiations toward a conclusion by the end of 2019.

At the ministerial meeting, the ministers concluded three annexes: The Annex on Telecommunications Services, The Annex on Financial Services and The Annex on Professional Services, bringing the total number of completed items to 7 concluded chapters and 3 concluded annexes. In addition, they welcomed significant progress in market access and text-based negotiations, in particular, noting that over two-thirds of market access negotiations have reached mutually satisfactory outcomes. Moreover, to conclude the RCEP negotiations by the end of 2019, they called on all participating countries to find pragmatic and solution-oriented approaches to solving the remaining issues.

They also scheduled the next ministerial meeting for September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.

2. Bilateral meetings

In addition to attending the ministerial meeting, Minister Seko held bilateral meetings with: Minister Chan, Singapore; Minister Laksanawisit, Thailand; Minister Zhong, China; and Minister Birmingham, Australia. In each meeting, the two sides exchanged frank views mainly on approaches to the conclusion of RCEP by the end of 2019.

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