Japan, China, Korea kick off trilateral free trade talk
Senior officials from Japan, China and South Korea began talks Monday on a three-way free trade pact following an agreement by the nations’ leaders to seek an early conclusion of such a deal.
At the five-day, director-general-level talks, the three neighboring countries will work to set up a framework of negotiations and a road map for discussions before dealing with sensitive issues such as tariffs on agricultural products.
The ninth round of discussions in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, comes after the three nations’ leaders vowed early last month to speed up negotiations over a free trade deal encompassing 20 percent of the global economy.
China and South Korea have already agreed on a bilateral free trade pact, while Japan and 11 other Pacific Rim nations recently concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty.
South Korea and some other Asian nations have shown interest in joining the TPP, while China has been more cautious about taking part in the accord, which calls for reforms to state-owned firms.
The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India have also been negotiating for a broader trade pact known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
A Japanese government source said Tokyo would like to see stronger rules for any trilateral trade accord than those of the deal reached between China and South Korea.
Source: The Japan Times