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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


Japan-South Korea ties on the rocks
When are a few sea-swept, uninhabited rocky islets more than a bunch of rocks? When they involve lucrative fisheries and emotional issues that hark back to the days of the Japanese Empire.
China-Japan-Korea investment opportunities studied
A joint study group, consisting of members from China, Japan and South Korea, issued a report recently on possible trilateral investment arrangements between the three countries, which recommended that a legal framework concerning investment among the three countries should be explored in the near future. Such an investment arrangement, if well operated, would give a fresh boost to the start of FTA negotiations.
Japan-S. Korea FTA faces stormy ride
Negotiations to conclude a free trade agreement between Japan and South Korea are expected to face tough going because of ongoing disputes in specific areas of bilateral trade.
S. Korean lawmakers sound alarm over FTA with Japan
A group of lawmakers from South Korea’s ruling party Friday joined the chorus of caution about the possible adverse impact of a free trade agreement (FTA) with Japan on the local market.
Joint Japan-China study to examine FTA impact
The Japan External Trade Organization has established a joint research group with a Chinese government institute to examine the possible impact on the Japanese and Chinese economies of a bilateral free trade agreement.
We denounce the Korea-Japan FTA
The governments of Korea and Japan have come together today, 350km away from Seoul, for their fifth negotiation to consolidate a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Ever since the negotiations were initiated last December, many NGOs and people’s organizations have shown concern over the planned FTA.
Commerce Minister upbeat on Korea-Japan FTA
Commerce-Industry-Energy Minister Lee Hee-beom on Tuesday expressed the Korean government’s strong desire to complete the Korea-Japan Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Korea’s FTA conundrum
After a protracted courtship, Korea and Japan finally agreed last month to start negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).
PICIS Statement against the Korea-Japan BIT
Between 20th and 24th December, representatives from the two countries will meet in Tokyo and finalise the text of the BIT that has been under much criticism from peoples’ movements of both Korea and Japan.