Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will likely be signed by next year, Darell Leiking, International Trade and Industry Minister said.

While addressing the media, he said he expects discussions on the issue to be concluded by the end of the year. However, this depends on the parties involved.

“I cannot reveal too much about the issue as we are still discussing,” he added.

The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between 16 nations: the 10 ASEAN-member countries plus six Asia Pacific states – Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand.

Earlier, Leiking said negotiations in China had seen progress, with most of the issues sorted out. Another meeting will be held in Da Nang, Vietnam, at the end of this month.

On a separate issue, he said there are currently no issues with rare earth miner Lynas.

“Lynas and the Malaysian government are working on a solution that benefits all, so there is no issue at the moment,” he said.

“I was just in Australia, and I think (the Australian government) is also waiting for Lynas to do what they have undertaken under the license.”

Last month, Lynas’ license to operate in Malaysia was renewed for six months on several major conditions. The conditions include an agreement that it would transfer its cracking and leaching plant to another country and construct a permanent disposal facility for its radioactive waste.

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