Deal close? China, Japan, South Korea gather for FTA talks
By Meng Yaping

2017-01-11 20:25 GMT+8

1km to Beijing

Top trade officials from China, Japan and South Korea on Wednesday continued discussions over a possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as they gathered for the 11th round of negotiations in Beijing. 
China, Japan and South Korea held another round of FTA discussions in Beijing on January 11, 2017. /CFP Photo
Since all three countries have benefited from the free trade system and trade inter-dependency among the three countries is still below 20 percent, the FTA will be expected to help the three economies better complement each other and align industry value chains.
During the negotiations, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen stated the importance for the three countries of achieving substantial results at this round of talks. Wang said the countries must be creative and pragmatic in fighting protectionism.
Wang Shouwen, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, in Tokyo on January 16, 2015. /CFP Photo
Lee Sangjin, South Korean deputy minister for trade negotiations, spoke highly of the developments FTAs can bring in goods, services and boosting investments.
The negotiations come at a time when Japan's other free trade efforts, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, have stalled. Keiichi Katakami, Japanese deputy minister for foreign affairs, highlighted the importance of the three economies making strong commitments.
In addition, the three officials reached a consensus on shelving the conflicts between FTA negotiations and the China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and paying more attention to promoting trade in goods, services and boosting investments.
Shipping containers are stacked at the Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, China, on Friday, May 11, 2012. The leaders of China, Japan and South Korea agreed to start negotiations in 2012 on a free-trade accord between three of Asia's four biggest economies. /CFP Photo
This FTA aims to build an Eastern Asian free trade market with a population of over 1.5 billion people. Negotiations were set in motion in 2012. The first official talks on the matter were held in Seoul on March 2013.
(Based on an article written by CGTN reporter Xia Chenxi)