3rd Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting was held on 21-22 May 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
- Trade Ministers of all 16 RCEP countries participated in this meeting.
- Indian delegation to this meeting was led by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- As Philippines is currently holding the Presidency of ASEAN, the RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting was chaired by Ramon Lopez – Trade Minister and Industry Minister of Philippines.
Highlights of 3rd RCEP Inter-sessional Ministerial Meeting:
- Ministers discussed various global economic developments with a specific focus on trade.
- It was emphasised that RCEP member countries should remain guarded against protectionist trends in global trade and should vouch for inclusive trade policies which will bring greater benefits to people of the region.
- Pak Iman Pambagyo – Chairperson of the Trade Negotiating Committee presented the state of play of RCEP negotiations and sought guidance from participating ministers on pending issues for proceeding with the negotiations.
- India and some other countries outlined the need to arrive at a comprehensive and balanced agreement across the three key pillars of goods, services and investment.
- Participating countries attempted to move towards negotiating the next round of offers and requests in goods for arriving at mutually beneficial terms through suitable mechanisms.
- In services also, countries will be submitting next round of offers to negotiate a mutually beneficial outcome.
- In Investments,the reservation lists submitted by all countries will be analysed in context of commercial meaningfulness.
About Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP):
- The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a proposed mega regional free trade agreement between 16 countries, comprising 10 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) plus six ASEAN Free Trade Agreement partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand).
- RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
- So far 4 Ministerial Meetings, 3 Inter-sessional Ministerial Meetings and 18 Rounds of the Trade Negotiating Committee meets at the technical level have been held.