November 24, 2010 18:00 PM
Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo to hold 3rd joint meeting on FTA
SEOUL, Nov 24 (Bernama) — South Korea, China and Japan will hold a third joint study meeting next week on the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) among the three Northeast Asian countries, Seoul’s trade ministry said Wednesday.
The meeting will be held in Weihai, China, from Dec 1-3, Yonhap News Agency reported the ministry as saying. In May this year, the three nations launched the project with the aim of concluding it by the end of 2012.
Last year, 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 had said that Seoul needed 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.