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DTI chief to push RCEP in Asean trade ministers’ meet

business / Headlines
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DTI chief to push RCEP in Asean trade ministers’ meet

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/Philippine Daily Inquirer

Trade and Industry Trade and Investments Secretary Ramon Lopez (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said he would be meeting with other trade ministers of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations next week to discuss the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Lopez said he would be in Hanoi, Vietnam, starting Friday to participate in an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Ministers Responsible For Trade Meeting which is scheduled during the weekend.

He said he would be using this opportunity to talk to his Asean counterparts on the sidelines of the meeting.

“We’ll convert it into a intercessional RCEP meeting,” he said.

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This will follow the 18th Meeting of the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) and Related Meetings which was held in Manila.

Lopez said Asean leaders would take up how to move the negotiations forward.
The latest negotiations for the mega trade deal began in 2012 in Phnom Penh, gathering the 10 Asean member states and six dialogue partners—Australia, New Zealand, India, Korea, Japan and China.

Together, the stakeholders account for about 30 percent of the global gross domestic product, according to a previous DTI statement. This agreement is expected to boost the Asean consumer base from around 600 million to 3.5 billion, accounting for almost half of the global population.

The prospects for the China-led mega trade deal have looked better in comparison to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose fate has become uncertain without the participation of the US.

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