A Vietnamese trade delegation has attended the fifth round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEF) negotiation in Singapore.

The Vietnamese delegation joined all meetings held at the plenary and the 11 working groups and sub-working groups.

A bilateral meeting was held between the Vietnamese and Japanese delegations at the request of the Japanese side.

The fifth round of the RCEP negotiation, held in Singapore from June 23 – 27, drew about 500 delegates from the 16 participating countries.

A media statement by the Chair of the RCEP – Trade Negotiating Committee (RCEP – TNC) noted that delegations continued their deliberations on some key issues under negotiations, including trade in goods, trade in services, investment, intellectual property, competition, economic and technical cooperation, and legal issues.

According to the statement, on trade in goods, further convergence was reached on key issues such as modality for the tariff negotiations, non-tariff measures, Standard, Technical Regulations and Conformity Assessment Procedures (STRACAP), Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary (SPS) measures, customs procedures and trade facilitation (CPTF), and Rules of Origin (ROO).

On trade in services, work has also advanced in building understanding and finding possible way forward on some key issues such as the structure and elements of the Services Chapter, scheduling of commitments, and the draft text of services agreement. On investment, negotiators have also made progress especially with regard to the approach to the scheduling of commitments and possible elements for the Chapter on Investment.

The delegates also discussed the preparation for the 2nd RCEP Trade Ministerial Meeting which is scheduled for August 27 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The ministers will assess progress of the negotiation after five rounds and provide guidance to the TNC to meet the target date of end-2015 for the completion of the negotiation.

The 6th RCEP negotiation round is scheduled for December 1-5 in India./.

The RCEP countries include the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and six partners, namely Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.-VNA