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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

China, Japan, S Korea should promote FTA talks

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

14:35, January 21, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

A joint study among government officials, academics, and industry figures from China, Japan, and South Korea on the establishment of a trilateral free trade area (FTA) ended smoothly and yielded positive results. The three countries agree that a trilateral FTA is feasible, and will benefit all three sides. Talks on the FTA are likely to start this year, ushering in a new phase in the East Asian economic integration.

Academic institutions from the three countries believe that the FTA will bring practical benefits to the people of the three countries and to their economic development, with South Korea being a major beneficiary.

The FTA's bright prospects are based on the countries' economic structures and potential for cooperation. The combined gross domestic product (GDP) of China, Japan, and South Korea has reached 10.2 trillion U.S. dollars, accounting for nearly 19 percent of the world's total and 70 percent of total East Asian GDP, and is nearing the European Union's 12 trillion U.S. dollars of GDP.

However, the trade volume among the three countries accounts for less than 20 percent of their total foreign trade volume, and investment among the three countries is particularly low. The three countries are at different development stages, and have their own unique comparative advantages. Their economic relations are complementary rather than competitive, and they have great potential in establishing a manufacturing network in East Asia and promoting trade and investment in the region. The global financial crisis has taught them a hard lesson that it is highly dangerous to rely on the United States and Europe as main export markets.

The three countries have been preparing for the FTA for 10 years, and encountered considerable opposition from domestic forces.

The primary goal of establishing the free trade zone is to open the countries' markets to each other. It will inevitably touch the sensitive areas and products of the three countries.

For example, China may have relatively large potential interests in the area of exporting agricultural products to Japan and South Korea. For Japan and South Korea, the agricultural product issue is the most sensitive issue in all the trade negotiations.

But on the other hand, Japan and South Korea have obvious advantages in many industrial areas, especially in technology-intensive manufacturing areas such as the iron and steel, petrochemical engineering and automobile, and the further opening of these areas may affect China's relevant areas.

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romanov at 2012-01-2280.94.16.*
2012-1-21.? UE to be opposite Free trade Zone.Russia yet not adults a such"s idea.

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