NANNING, April 1 (Xinhua) -- The fourth round of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks began on Monday in south China's Guangxi, with a focus on tariff concessions and service and investment liberalization.
The meeting of the largest regional trade partnership of the Asia-Pacific region has drawn more than 500 representatives from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries as well as Japan, the Republic of Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Chinese delegation leader Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of China's Ministry of Commerce, said at the start of the five-day meeting that trade development within the East Asia region has gathered great momentum.
The growth rate of China-RCEP countries' bilateral trade has already surpassed the average growth rate of China's foreign trade, he said.
During the previous three rounds of talks, seven working groups have been established for detailed cooperation. The groups cover goods trade, service, investment, economic and technological cooperation, intellectual property rights, competition policies and dispute settlement.
"Although the past three sessions have achieved concrete progress in the areas of tariff concessions, customs procedures, trade facilitation and rules management, challenges are still waiting ahead," said Iman Pambagyo, the ASEAN chairman of the RCEP negotiation committee.
He suggested all concerned parties cooperate closely to overcome difficulties.
Zhang Xiaoqin, vice chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, told the meeting that the central government has approved to establish a financial reform pilot zone in Guangxi for cross-border RMB trade settlements and other financial investment cooperation within the East Asia region.
RCEP member countries cover 50 percent of the world's population and constitute 30 percent of global GDP and trade volume.
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