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China floats FTA study group with Korea, Japan

Chosun-ilbo, Korea

China Floats FTA Study Group with Korea, Japan

4 May 2005

China has proposed a study group to stimulate free trade agreements between Korea, China and Japan bringing together governments, businesses and academics, Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported Wednesday.

The daily said China would officially bring up the issue at a trilateral meeting of foreign ministers on the sidelines of the Asia-Europe Meeting in Kyoto from May 7. The three Northeast Asian countries have been conducting FTA research through independent agencies including Japan’s National Institute for Research Advancement. China wants to include government officials in the process.

The paper said Japan looked favorably on the proposal, which it feels could help improve recently strained ties with the other two. However, Japan’s agriculture minister told the daily it was premature to sign an FTA with China considering the potential damage it could do to Japanese farmers.