Jiji Press | January 20, 2014
FTA talks open in Malaysia
Officials from 16 economies in Asia and Oceania gathered in Kuala Lumpur on Monday to start a third round of negotiations on establishing a regional free trade agreement.
In their five days of talks in the Malaysian capital, the 16 are expected to discuss how to negotiate reduction and abolition of tariffs on agricultural and industrial products, as well as which sectors the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations should cover.
The Japanese government is expected to ask other countries to convene specialized task forces for intellectual property right protections and other domains and to call for the start of full-blown talks on these areas.
The countries taking part in the negotiations include the 10 members of the Associations of Southeast Asian Nations as well as Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
The 16 nations plan to compile an outline for tariff reduction and abolition this summer, with the aim of completing negotiations by the end of 2015.
During the Kuala Lumpur talks, the countries are scheduled to hold region-specific group discussions on Monday before plenary sessions begin on Tuesday.