China, Japan and S.Korea discuss FTA

09:14, May 24, 2010      

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South Korea, China and Japan's trade ministers have agreed to work toward creating a free-trade region grouping their three countries, said a joint statement issued Sunday.

  The three ministers confirmed they would complete a feasibility study within two years on creating the trade bloc, according to the statement issued after their weekend meeting in Seoul.

  Trade ministers Chen Deming of China, Kim Jong-hoon of South Korea and Masayuki Naoshima of Japan met to prepare for a summit on South Korea's southern island of Jeju.

  The three-nation summit scheduled on Saturday and Sunday will be attended by South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and China's Premier Wen Jiabao.

  "We reaffirm the importance of the trilateral investment framework, which will be instrumental to further strengthening the economic partnership among the three countries," the statement read.

  President Lee has previously called on China to work toward a free-trade agreement in the region, with similar negotiations between Seoul and Tokyo under way since 2004.

  The ministers also had in-depth discussions on ways to push forward the process of the Doha negotiations, reinforce cooperation under the framework of the G20 and the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation, and other issues of common concern.

  The three countries, which represent 18.6 percent of the global economy and around 70 percent of the Asian economy in terms of GDP, have been holding trilateral meetings at trade-minister level since 2002.

  Japan is Asia's largest economy, with China close behind. South Korea ranks fourth, behind India.

  The environment ministers from the three nations Sunday also adopted their countries' first joint action plan in Tomakomai City, Japan, to deal with global warming, the problem of yellow dust and other priority environmental issues through 2014, Kyodo News reported.

  The agreement among environment ministers will be submitted for endorsement at their leaders' summit this weekend.

Source: Global Times


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