2016 Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in Laos (Source: www.koreaherald.com)
Trade ministers of 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region will gather in the Republic of Korea this week to discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the Yonhap news agency quoted the RoK Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as saying on October 23.
RCEP is a massive regional free-trade agreement between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the six countries with which ASEAN has existing free trade agreements, including the Republic of Korea, China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Some 800 negotiators from the member nations will attend the 20th round of talks to be held in the western port city of Incheon from October 24-28, the ministry said.
The core agenda of past RCEP negotiations has covered trade in goods and services, investment, economic and technical cooperation and dispute settlement.
The upcoming negotiations will deal with the market access on goods, service and investment, as well as regulations on the place of origin and intellectual property rights, the ministry said.
China has been pushing for a rapid conclusion to RCEP with a focus on lowering tariffs, while Japan and ASEAN countries have demanded a more comprehensive deal covering services and investment.
If RCEP is signed in the near future, it will be the world's largest free-trade agreement, covering a population of 3.5 billion and about 30 percent of world trade, according to the World Trade Organization data./.