FTA talks with Seoul, Beijing start

Japan Times, Tokyo

FTA talks with Seoul, Beijing start

26 November 2013

Kyodo/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.

While the talks come as Tokyo’s relations with Beijing and Seoul remain frosty due to territorial disputes and differences over wartime history, a Japanese trade ministry official said the three countries are cooperating and the political discord has not adversely affected the negotiations.

The East Asian countries are expected to hold working-level talks on 15 categories, including intellectual property, while expert dialogue in the areas of food, the environment and e-commerce will also take place, according to the Foreign Ministry.

At the outset of the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Yasumasa Nagamine, who heads the Japanese delegation, said he hopes for progress especially on such issues as market access, e-commerce and government procurement during the four-day talks.

Chinese Assistant Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen expressed hope that the three countries will “keep a good momentum” to produce tangible outcomes.

Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul announced the launch of the free trade talks last year and held their first meeting in Seoul in late March this year. The second meeting was held in Shanghai from July to August.

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