Eighteenth Round of Negotiations – 2 to 12 May 2017, Manila, Philippines
The 18th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) meeting and related meetings were held from 2 to 12 May 2017 in Manila, Philippines.
In opening the meeting, H.E. Mr Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary of Trade and Industry for the Philippines, called for all RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) to make utmost efforts and show political will to advance negotiations and achieve meaningful progress.
The Meeting noted the increasing interest in the RCEP negotiations, and the growing expectations of RCEP contributing to open regionalism. The Meeting expressed shared commitment to work collectively and in a cooperative manner to progress the negotiations in a more accelerated way.
The negotiations made progress across the Working Groups on Trade in Goods and Trade in Services and their respective Sub-Working Groups, as well as the Working Groups on Investment, Intellectual Property, Competition, e-Commerce, and Legal and Institutional Issues. The Working Groups and Sub-Working Groups continued their deliberations to further advance market access and text-based negotiations.
Stakeholder events with civil society organisations (CSO) and the business sector were held during the negotiation round. The CSO meeting included participants from over 30 international, regional and local CSOs, and was followed by the RCEP TNC Leaders Dialogue with the Business Community.
The 3rd RCEP Intersessional Ministerial Meeting is scheduled from 21 to 22 May 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The next round of the RCEP TNC and related meetings will be held from 18 to 28 July 2017 in Hyderabad, India.