Ministers from RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) have said that continuing uncertainties in trade and investment environment have dampened growth outlook across the world and certain developments in global trade environment may affect individual positions in the course of the negotiations for concluding RCEP.
In a joint statement issued after the meeting of 16 RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) in Bangkok on Sunday, the ministers noted that negotiations to conclude RCEP have reached a critical milestone as the deadline for the conclusion of negotiations draws near.
The 7th RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Cooperation) ministerial meeting, which was attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, was held to review developments in the RCEP negotiations since the ministers last met in Beijing on August 2-3, 2019.
According to the Commerce and Industry Ministry's release issued on Monday, the statement talked of "remaining challenges" in negotiations but said the countries were working to address the outstanding issues.
"The Ministers recognised that negotiations have reached a critical milestone as the deadline for the conclusion of negotiations draws near. Notwithstanding the remaining challenges in the negotiations, RPCs are working on addressing outstanding issues that are fundamental to conclude the agreement this year as mandated by the leaders," the statement said.
"Continuing uncertainties in trade and investment environment have dampened growth outlook across the world, with likely impact on businesses and jobs, adding to the urgency and imperative of concluding the RCEP," added the statement.
The statement said that the ministers agreed that RPCs should not lose the long-term vision of deepening and expanding the values chains in the RCEP.
"While noting that certain developments in the global trade environment may affect RPC's individual positions in the course of the negotiations, Ministers agreed that RPCs should not lose the long-term vision of deepening and expanding the values chains in the RCEP," it said.
"The ministers underscored that successfully concluded, the RCEP will provide the much-needed stability and certainty to the market, which will, in turn, boost trade and investment in the region. To this end, ministers reaffirmed their collective resolve to bring negotiations to a conclusion," the statement said.
It said that the ministers committed to providing negotiators with the necessary resources and mandate to bring negotiations to a close.
They made "collective call to negotiators at all levels to translate this commitment into constructive actions and positive outcomes".
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