A meeting of officials of Asia-Pacific economies agreed on Thursday to try to conclude a pact in 2015 to set up a free trade zone.
The ten ASEAN member nations and six other countries -- Japan, China, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand -- made the agreement at a meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia, Japanese media reports said.
They said they would try to lower or abolish tariffs on a range of products while giving special consideration to farm produce and other sensitive items.
They also agreed to try to liberalize trade in services and investment, and relax rules on protecting intellectual property.
The regional grouping says that their goals will be more ambitious than those of their existing free trade agreements. The countries are to take a final decision at a summit in November in Phnom Penh after further discussion in working-level consultations. Talks on launching the free trade zone are scheduled to start early next year, the report added.
by RTT Staff Writer
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