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With RCEP deal unlikely this year, ministers settle for 'realistic' goals

Failing to find common ground, countries look to October round

MANILA -- Countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement are poised to miss a 2017 deadline to reach a deal, forcing them to settle for "realistic ambitions." 

Ministers from the 16 RCEP countries ended an all-day meeting on Sunday without a major breakthrough in the talks that began in 2013. They instead tempered their expectations and identified "key elements" to move negotiations forward and reach a "substantial conclusion," said Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez, who chaired the meetings.

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