ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
ASEAN, trading partners agree to set realistic RCEP offers
The trading partners crafting the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have agreed to set "more realistic" trade offers, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said Monday.
"Essentially, we have agreed to adopt a set of key elements," Lopez said in a press briefing on the sidelines of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers' and Related Meetings (AEM) in Pasay City.
Lopez currently serves as the chairman of the AEM, in line with the Philippine hosting of ASEAN 2017.
Lopez said the 16 trading partners have agreed to manage their expectations to move forward talks on the free trade deal.
"We have to recalibrate the objectives, the landing zone," he said, noting that all the RCEP trading partners are expected to submit their new trade offers in time for another round of negotiations in October.
RCEP is a free trade agreement among ASEAN member nations—Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, And Vietnam—and their dialogue partners Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and New Zealand.
The trading partners agreed to recalibrate the modalities of services, and the approved percentages of tariff lines, Lopez noted.
"We have to really agree on key parameters if we really want to achieve substantial conclusion moving forward," he said.
"Ministers will go back to their constituents and hopefully have a more acceptable offer when they submit it in a few weeks," he added.
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