An overview of the meeting (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Ministers from 16 Asia-Pacific countries met in Siem Reap, Cambodia on March 2 to negotiate the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in the context of forecasts that participating sides are yet to narrow gaps related to tax and other matters.

Representatives from the 10 ASEAN countries and their six partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand) will discuss a free trade agreement for half of the world population which account for 30 percent of global GDP and trade.

At a meeting in late 2018, those countries’ representatives went home without reaching any deal. India showed its caution about tax removal as it worried that prices of goods imported from China will sharply increase.

The Cambodia media said at the Siem Reap meeting, the Japanese delegation hoped the negotiations will reach progress in financial service and other fields that see few differences in order to pave the way for the conclusion of negotiations for this free trade agreement.

RCEP comprises the 10 ASEAN member countries and six nations which ASEAN has signed free trade agreements with including Australia, China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. It was ever expected to be signed before 2015, towards the goal of forming the East Asia Free Trade Agreement (EAFTA) and kick-starting the Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA).-VNA