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Asia-Pacific nations aim to eliminate 80pc of import duties in 10 years

Trade ministers from 16 Asia-Pacific countries agreed on Monday to eliminate tariffs on 80 percent of their imports within a decade, in a major breakthrough in talks for a massive regional free trade deal.

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India, which have been negotiating for a trade pact known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) since May 2013, had been bogged down by the issue until now.

"The biggest issue we resolved today was agreement on modality in goods, meaning the level of tariff reduction," Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said at a news conference at the end of the ministerial meeting.

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