Moderate progress after talks on RCEP trade pact

Only 3 additional annexes concluded; doubts over whether deal can be sewn up by year end

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit on the sidelines of the Asean Economic Ministers Caucus Meeting on Aug 2, 2019.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit on the sidelines of the Asean Economic Ministers Caucus Meeting on Aug 2, 2019.PHOTO: CHAN CHUN SING/FACEBOOK

Trade ministers negotiating the largest trade pact in the world appear to have made moderate progress after a day of talks in Beijing, calling into question whether a deal can be sewn up by the year end.

Amid a climate of urgency brought on by the deepening trade war between the US and China and a global slowdown, the officials from 16 countries only managed to conclude three additional annexes: on telecommunications services, financial services and professional services.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 04, 2019, with the headline 'Moderate progress after talks on RCEP trade pact'. Subscribe