Announcement of the Launch of Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

November 20, 2012

 1. On Tuesday, November 20, 2012 a ceremony to launch negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was held in Phnom Penn, Cambodia. At the ceremony, the ASEAN countries, Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India (“FTA Partners”) announced the launch of RCEP negotiations.

2. Mr. Yukio Edano, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry attended the ceremony on behalf of Japan.

3. At the launch of negotiations, the leaders of each relevant country adopted the “Guiding Principles and Objectives for Negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.” The key points of this document are as follows.
(1) Scope of negotiations
RCEP will cover trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues.
(2) Commitment levels
The RCEP will have broader and deeper engagement with significant improvements over the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs, while recognizing the individual and diverse circumstances of the participating countries.
(3) Negotiations for trade in goods
Negotiations will be built on the existing levels of trade liberalization among participating countries and aim to achieve the high level of tariff liberalization.
(4) Negotiations for trade in services
Negotiations will cover all areas of services trade, aiming at achieving a comprehensive and high-quality agreement compatible with WTO rules.
(5) Negotiations for investment
Negotiations will cover the four pillars of promotion, protection, facilitation and liberalization.
(6) Negotiation schedule
Negotiations will commence in early 2013 and aim to complete by end-2015.
(7) Participating countries
Participants will be ASEAN members and FTA Partners. After the completion of the negotiations, countries other than the 16 states may join.

    • (* The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)