The chief negotiator of a 16-nation Asia trade pact expressed hope that talks can be concluded this year if member nations refrain from introducing elements of a separate deal derailed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Iman Pambagyo, trade negotiating committee chief for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, said that governments had the political will to conclude the deal despite differences on goods and services, in part to send a message in the face of rising protectionism elsewhere. Only 10 percent of the text has been completed, he said.

"My best bet would be for the RCEP to be signed sometime next year," Pambagyo said at a forum in Singapore on Wednesday. "I am quite optimistic, somehow the market access negotiation and the text-based negotiation could be concluded sometime this year."