Australia was represented by the Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment Mr Ciobo at the Fifth Intersessional Ministerial Meeting hosted by Japan on 1 July 2018.
The Ministers welcomed the progress made by the negotiators across all areas, and agreed to work with a greater focus on finding breakthroughs for conclusion of the RCEP negotiations, in line with the RCEP Leaders’ mandate in 2017. To this end, the Ministers tasked negotiators to focus efforts towards achieving a package of year-end outcomes.
On market access, the Ministers appreciated efforts undertaken by all RPCs to facilitate movements towards the final offers, including through the intensification of request and offer negotiations to address specific interests and concerns, and instructed negotiators to improve market access offers in order to meet Leaders' expectations of positive and constructive responses to requests. On rules, the Ministers noted the outcomes of the 4th RCEP Intersessional TNC Meeting and Related Meetings in the areas of e-commerce, intellectual property, and customs procedures and trade facilitation, and welcomed the progress made in narrowing the remaining gaps towards pragmatic landing zones.
The Ministers tasked the negotiators to further make progress for assessment by Ministers when they meet at the end of August 2018 in Singapore, and reaffirmed the commitment that the RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement with significant improvements over the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs.
The next officials level meeting will be held 17-27 July 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Joint media statement: Fifth Intersessional Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting