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(Update) Leaders of 16 RCEP Nations Give Up Accord by Year-End

(Update) Leaders of 16 RCEP Nations Give Up Accord by Year-End

   Bangkok, Nov. 4 (Jiji Press)--Leaders of 16 countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, at a meeting in a Bangkok suburb Monday, gave up on concluding the talks by the end of the year, due to opposition from India, which remains concerned about a massive influx of products from China.
   The participating countries will proceed with work toward signing the RCEP in 2020, the leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said in a joint statement adopted at the meeting. But it remains to be seen whether an agreement will be reached among all 16 countries, because India is threatening to withdraw from the negotiations.
   The statement said that 15 countries excluding India have concluded "text-based negotiations for all 20 chapters," such as investment and rules including on the protection of intellectual properties, and "essentially all their market access issues," including tariff cuts and elimination.
   Meanwhile, the statement noted that "India has significant outstanding issues, which remain unresolved," adding: "All RCEP participating countries will work together to resolve these outstanding issues in a mutually satisfactory way. India's final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of these issues."
   India has yet to finish tariff cut and elimination negotiations with China and is also continuing talks with other countries out of concern that Chinese products may flow into the Indian market via these countries.

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