China urges Japan on FTA talks

Associated Press

Update 2:
Report: China Urges Japan on FTA Talks

05.18.2005, 02:11 PM

Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi on Wednesday urged Japan to start negotiations soon with China on a bilateral free trade agreement, the Kyodo news agency reported.

Wu said a free trade agreement talks would help strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries, whose ties have been strained in recent months.

She also called for promoting bilateral cooperation in the fields of energy and industrial strategies, as well as for Japanese investments in Chinese regions which have so far attracted little investment from Japan, according to Kyodo.

Describing Japan as "an important economic partner," the vice premier said China wants to develop together with Japan while learning lessons from history, Kyodo reported.

The proposal comes at a time when diplomatic relations between the two Asian powers has chilled. There were massive anti-Japan riots in China last month over Japan’s interpretation of its militarist past and its bid for a U.N. Security Council permanent seat. Japanese interest in investment and tourism in China, meanwhile, seems to have cooled.

Japan has free trade agreements with Singapore and Mexico and has reached a basic agreement with the Philippines. It is currently in talks with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

China has agreed with ASEAN’s 10 nations to begin creating a massive tariff-free market over the next five years in their combined market of 2 billion people.

Wu arrived in Japan on Tuesday and attended the 50th anniversary celebration for the Tokai Japan-China Trade Center in Nagoya on Wednesday.

She was set to attend China’s national day event at the Aichi Expo on Thursday.

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source: Forbes