China, Japan, ROK eye early launch of FTA
Updated: 2012-05-10 09:09
BEIJING - China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are consulting with each other for the early launch of negotiations for the free trade area (FTA), a white paper said on Wednesday.
"The three countries... endeavor to facilitate the development of East Asia Free Trade Area and East Asian economic integration," the white paper says.
The white paper named "China-Japan-ROK Cooperation (1999-2012)" was issued on Wednesday to mark the upcoming fifth Trilateral Summit Meeting among the three countries, hosted by China in Beijing next week.
A comprehensive study conducted by research institutions of the three countries showed that the establishment of a FTA could remove trade barriers, expand intra-regional market, facilitate trilateral economic integration and promote mutual benefit among the three countries, the white paper said.
The three countries reached a consensus at the trilateral summit meeting in October 2009 to launch as early as possible a joint study on China-Japan-ROK FTA among government officials, business and academic communities.
The joint study was officially launched in May 2010 and completed its work in December 2011, and issued a joint statement, according to the white paper.
The three countries have already conducted 13 rounds of negotiations for a trilateral investment agreement, and reached consensus on the text of the agreement, which is expected to be officially signed soon, the white paper said.
The three countries will also hold a series of meetings to promote their cooperation in economy, trade, investment and technology.
The three countries are going to hold the 12th Yellow Sea Rim Economic and Technological Conference, the only sub-regional cooperation mechanism involving the government, economic groups, companies, universities and research institutions with the aim of developing proposals for cooperation in trade, investment, science and technology among relevant regions of the three countries, in Lianyungang of East China's Jiangsu province in September this year.
The second China-Japan-ROK Engineering Business Roundtable, attended by industrial organizations and enterprises on engineering contracting, aims to enhance trilateral exchanges and cooperation in engineering contracting and related fields, are going to be held in the latter half of 2012.
According to the white paper, the trilateral trade increased by more than four times from $130 billion in 1999 to $690 billion in 2011.
China has topped the trading partners' list of Japan and the ROK for many years, while Japan and the ROK rank the fourth and sixth place among China's trading partners respectively.