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RCEP trade ministers urge members to find solution-oriented approaches to resolve pending issues

ANI | Updated: Aug 04, 2019 02:56 IST

Beijing [China], Aug 4 (ANI): The Ministers from the 16 countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have called on the member states to find pragmatic and solution-oriented approaches to narrow divergence on the various remaining issues of the trade pact.
A joint statement carried out by the ministers taking part in the RCEP meeting held here mentioned that in view of the growth outlook remaining clouded by rising uncertainties, it is in the region's "collective interest" and "highest priority" to conclude a modern, comprehensive, high quality and mutually beneficial RCEP in this year.
The Ministers recognised that trade remains a powerful tool for income and employment generation, productivity and innovation stimulation, and inclusive and sustainable development.
RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam -- and its six FTA partners -- India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.
During the meeting, India called for a balanced outcome in trade negotiations and flagged its concerns regarding market access and other issues leading to imbalanced trade between some of the partner countries.
The Ministers commended the Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) for their efforts, especially over the last three rounds, in progressing both market access and text-based negotiations. In addition, they welcomed the conclusion of the Annexes on Telecommunication Services, Financial Services, and Professional Services, bringing a total number of 7 concluded chapters and 3 concluded annexes and noted that some of the remaining chapters or annexes are nearing conclusion.
The Indian delegation was led by Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan. In his meeting with China's Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen, Wadhawan flagged bilateral market access related issues on various categories of products and called for easing business visas for Indian travellers.

He asked Thailand's Permanent Secretary Boonyarit Kalayanamit to improve his offer in goods and services under RCEP. In his meeting with Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, Wadhawan requested to support the operationalisation of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement on nursing as agreed in the second Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) review and work towards speedy progress on the third CECA review. (ANI)