RCEP negotiations to continue into 2018
September 12, 2017: RCEP Ministers met last week in Manila to assess progress in the negotiations. Filipino community groups met with negotiators and organised forums and protests.
There are still major differences about tariff levels, intellectual property on medicines, services and ISDS. There have been media reports that the negotiations will not be completed by the deadline of the end of this year. The Filipino Trade undersecretary said that RCEP participating countries have abandoned the target of concluding the negotiations within this year due to differences in tariff reduction or elimination targets, as well as services to be opened up. Instead, they aim to achieve a "substantial conclusion" or "a significant breakthrough" when the leaders of ASEAN and their dialogue partners meet in November. The official Ministers's statement from the meeting said that the aim was to "maximise progress towards significant outcomes" at the November meeting.