Hanoi (VNA) – Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez on May 8 urged negotiators of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to speed up talks, reaffirming the need to conclude the free trade deal this year.
Opening the 18th round of RCEP negotiations, Lopez said the negotiators need to keep the momentum of the talks going and encouraged all parties to achieve a sustainable conclusion of the “high-quality and credible agreement” by the end of this year.
He said 17 rounds of negotiations have been held so far since RCEP talks were launched in 2012 and they are moving forward despite the challenges.
At the end of the 30th ASEAN Summit last week, ASEAN leaders instructed their ministers and negotiators to accelerate efforts building on the progress achieved thus far.
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