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‘China, Japan, S Korea FTA talks constructive’
August 2, 2013, 9:10 am


Japan will hold the third round of talks later this year [Xinhua]

The second round of talks between China, Japan and South Korea for a trilateral free trade agreement (FTA) have ended in Shanghai on a “constructive” note.

“Constructive discussions were made to set up an institutional framework for trilateral economic cooperation via the Korea-China- Japan FTA,” said a press release by the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE).

The three Asian nations held the second round of FTA talks in Shanghai this week.

Japan will hold the third round of talks later this year.

“At the second round of negotiations, (the countries) discussed key issues, such as the scope and means of lowering import tariffs and the scope of negotiations, based on the terms of reference adopted at the first round of negotiations,” said the South Korean press release.

Second round negotiations also included working-group meetings on goods, service and competition along with export dialogue on intellectual property rights and e-commerce.

Third round talks will discuss whether to include environment, government procurement and food sectors at the three-way FTA negotiation, the ministry said.

Territorial disputes and differing views on market access have considerably slowed down negotiations between the three nations.

Japan and South Korea have been involved in a prolonged row over the disputed islands known as Dokdo in South Korea and Takeshima in Japan.

Sino-Japanese ties have also been under strain due to a territorial dispute over another set of islands.

Gross domestic product (GDP) of the three nations totalled $15 trillion last year, accounting for around 20 per cent of the world’s total and 70 per cent of Asia’s total.

Japan has formally joined the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bloc while China and South Korea are yet to join.

The three countries are also discussing membership to the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

The RCEP would include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the six countries that have an FTA with the group – India, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Source: Agencies