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RCEP Ministerial Meeting to be Held

October 11, 2019

The Ninth ministerial meeting for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be held in Thailand on October 12.

From the Japanese side, Mr. SUGAWARA Isshu, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, and representatives from other relevant ministries will participate in the meeting.

In response to the agreement concluded between the RCEP leaders, Japan will hold discussions with other RCEP participating countries (RPCs) aiming at substantial conclusion of the RCEP negotiations by the end of this year.

1.Outline

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed wide-area economic partnership, which is under negotiation between the ten ASEAN Member States and six non-ASEAN countries (Japan, China, The Republic of Korea (ROK), Australia, New Zealand, and India; hereinafter referred to as the “FTA partner countries”).

2. Background

  1. In November 2012, at the ceremony to launch negotiations for RCEP which was held during the ASEAN-related Summit Meetings, the leaders of the ASEAN Member States and FTA partner countries announced the launch of RCEP negotiations. In May 2013, the first negotiation round was held in Brunei Darussalam. As of August 1, 15 Ministerial Meetings and 27 rounds of Negotiations have been held.
  2. In March 2018, at the Fourth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting, Minister Seko stated that Japan would support ASEAN in its aims to conclude the negotiations in 2018 as long as a certain level of quality is assured in obtaining balance in terms of market access, rules and cooperation
  3. In July 2018, Japan, as a non-ASEAN country, hosted the Fifth RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo for the first time in the almost five-year RCEP-negotiation history. Minister Seko co-chaired the meeting with Mr. Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore.
  4. In August 2018, the Sixth RCEP Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore. The RPCs agreed to aim for a substantial conclusion of the RCEP negotiations by achieving the targets of each area described in the Package of Year-End Deliverables.
  5. On October 13, 2018, the Sixth RCEP Intersessional Meeting was held in Singapore. The participating ministers welcomed the progress in negotiations aiming at a substantial conclusion of the negotiations by the end of 2018. They intentionally discussed remaining political issues, and provided guidance on specific issues for the working-level officials.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. In August 2019, an RCEP ministerial meeting was held in China and participating ministers held frank discussions on both market access and rules toward the conclusion of RCEP negotiations by the end of 2019. They instructed the working-level officials to maintain pragmatic and solution-oriented approaches.
  9. In September 2019, an RCEP ministerial meeting was held in Thailand. Participating ministers reaffirmed their collective resolve to bring negotiations to a conclusion and committed to providing negotiators with the necessary resources and mandate to bring negotiations to a close.

Division in Charge

Economic Partnership Division, Trade Policy Bureau

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