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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


NE Asian economies aim to conclude FTA next year
South Korea, China and Japan have planned to conclude their drawn-out negotiations on a trilateral free-trade deal in 2015, but an agreement may not be achievable unless it is a “high-level and comprehensive pact,” China’s top negotiator to the talks said Tuesday.
China, Japan, ROK kick off 5th round of FTA talks
China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) started the fifth round of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations in Beijing on Monday.
Farmers protest China FTA in Seoul
Thousands of South Korean farmers rallied in Seoul on Thursday, protesting Chinese demands for more access to the local agricultural market as part of a planned free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea.
Fisheries minister promises efforts to minimize loss for fishermen from China FTA
South Korea’s fisheries minister pledged full government efforts to limit losses by local fishermen from a free trade agreement with China and take compensatory measures for businesses inevitably hurt by the pact, reports state news agency Yonhap.
China, S.Korea, Japan advance FTA negotiations further
China, South Korea and Japan advanced their free trade deal negotiations further at the fourth round of talks held in Seoul for four days through Friday, the South Korean trade ministry said.
S. Korea, China divided over illegal fishing in FTA talks
Seoul is pressing the issue but China maintains that it will not discuss it.
Territorial dispute sees Japan left behind in trilateral FTA talks
Free trade talks between China and South Korea are progressing ahead of talks between China and Japan, whose territorial dispute shows no signs of abating, reports the Guangzhou-based South Reviews.
FTA talks with Seoul, Beijing start
Japan, China and South Korea began their third round of free trade talks in Tokyo on Tuesday, with a wide range of areas such as intellectual property and goods and services on the agenda.
Korea-China FTA: Latest round of talks includes liberalization of some farm products, noted controversies
The Korean government revealed its intention to open the agricultural sector during the first round of the so-called “second phase negotiations” for a free trade agreement between South Korea and China, showing its will to accelerate the FTA negotiation.
Seoul, Beijing agree on basic guidelines for FTA negotiations
South Korea and China have reached an agreement on the modality or basic guidelines for their negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA), the Seoul government said Friday.