Singapore’s trade minister said a broad agreement on the world’s biggest trade deal should be reached at a summit of leaders from participating nations in the city-state in November, six years since talks began.

Called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the trade accord includes the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) - Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and the world’s No.2 economy, China.

Asked after a meeting of regional economic ministers if participating countries were working towards a deal in time for the mid-November summit, Singapore’s Trade Minister Chan Chun Sing said: “Yes. We are looking for that broad agreement, that milestone, to be achieved... when the leaders meet at the end of the year.”

However, he said it was not clear when a final deal would be signed.

“As to the next phase of the work, once we have crossed that milestone we will have a clearer idea... It’s a bit too early to say at this point in time,” Sing said.

The deal does not include the US, which is locked in a trade spat with China and pulled out of another broad, international trade agreement in 2017 called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). (The White House said on August 31 that US President Donald Trump would skip the November gathering of leaders in Singapore.)