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China-Japan-Korea

The governments of China, South Korea and Japan are expected to commence negotiations on an eventual trilateral free trade agreement between the three countries during 2012 by first concluding bilateral agreements.

In December 2011, the three countries held a final joint study meeting on the feasibility of an FTA among them.

In January 2012, the South Korean and Chinese presidents announced that they would move towards negotiating a bilateral agreement between the two countries. In March 2012, the three countries concluded an investment agreement among themselves which is viewed as a step towards a more comprehensive FTA. In May 2012, China and Korea held their first round of negotiations towards an FTA in Beijing.

Negotiations on a Japan-Korea bilateral FTA, which stalled in 2004, despite several attempts to revive them, have to contend with unresolved tensions stemming from the Japanese occupation of Korea in the first half of the 20th century and Japanese resistance to lowering tariffs on agricultural imports. Any eventual FTA between China, South Korea and Japan needs to be seen in the context of ongoing economic and political rivalry between China and the USA, as Washington pursues plans to create a new regional free trade and investment agreement by joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

last update: May 2012


South Korea-China free trade agreement attracts protest from activists as lawmakers ratify deal
South Korean farmers and activists staged protests against a free trade agreement with China ahead of a parliamentary meeting to vote on its confirmation.
South Korea ratifies free trade agreement with China
The South Korean parliament, during a plenary session, ratified the country’s free trade agreement (FTA) with China.
Parties lock horns over Korea-China FTA
Rival parties clashed over the delayed ratification of a free trade agreement signed between South Korea and China
Japan, China, South Korea fail to strike FTA deal
Japan, China and South Korea ended their two-day negotiations on a trilateral trade agreement without fruit.
Lawmaker claims Korean agriculture sector will sustain much more damage than Government estimates
The Korea-China FTA will increase agricultural imports from China while scaling down Korea’s farming production.
S. Korea, China ink MOU to tackle non-tariff barriers
South Korea and China have agreed to tackle the issue of non-tariff barriers following their signing of a free trade agreement (FTA)
Korea, China officially sign FTA
Korea and China officially signed a free trade agreement (FTA) on Monday, after three years of negotiations.
S. Korea, China, Japan hold talks for 3-way FTA
South Korea, Japan and China began a new round of negotiations on a trilateral free trade agreement (FTA) in Seoul on Tuesday in an effort to thrash out their remaining differences.
Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo to hold new round of trilateral FTA talks
South Korea, China and Japan are set to resume a new round of negotiations this week aimed at forging a trilateral free-trade agreement.
China’s South Korea investment soars ahead of free trade pact
Chinese investment in Korea jumped 374 per cent last year and has doubled so far this year compared with the whole of last year because of the upcoming free-trade agreement between the two countries.