Global trade tensions could derail a landmark regional agreement encompassing 16 countries including India, China and Australia if a deal is not struck by November, said Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita.
Negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, have reached the “point of no return” as increasingly hostile trade tensions could dampen a deal seven years in the making, Lukita said.
“A settlement this year is very urgent, if not, the RCEP negotiations will lose important momentum that can drive changes and progress in the world economy,” he said.
Trade ministers from each of the participating countries resolved to reach a deal by November even as they have yet to hash out a solution to unspecified “fundamental issues.”
Individual ministers “found it difficult to find agreements among the sixteen RCEP Participating Countries. One of them finds solutions that work for one or two countries with too many differences with the outlying majority,” Lukita said.