Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo to hold 2nd joint study on free trade deal

Yonhap News, Seoul

Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo to hold 2nd joint study on free trade deal

25 August 2010

SEOUL, Aug. 25 (Yonhap) — South Korea, China and Japan will hold a second joint study meeting next month on the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) among the three Northeast Asian countries, Seoul’s trade ministry said Wednesday.

The joint study will be held in Tokyo from Sept. 1 to 3 with the next round due in Beijing in November, according to the ministry.

In May, the three nations launched the project with the aim of concluding it by the end of 2012.

Last October, trade ministers from the three nations agreed to hold a working-level joint study on the agreement, with government and industry officials also participating.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak earlier said Seoul needs to consider a free trade agreement with Beijing in order to keep up with other nations that have been adjusting to trade conditions stemming from China’s rapid rise in the global economy.

Free trade talks between Seoul and Tokyo have been stalled since late 2004, mainly because of Japan’s reluctance to lower tariffs on agricultural goods.

The two countries started preliminary talks to resume the stalled negotiations in June 2008, and have since met four times, including the latest meeting last December.

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