FTA talks lack mutual trust

Updated: 2013-04-08 18:00


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The first round of negotiations behind the creation of the Free Trade Area between South Korea, Japan and China kicked off in Seoul on March 26.

It is reasonable for all three parties to have high hopes on the accord, being considered the world's largest FTA in terms of population and economic aggregate, according to an article of Guangzhou Daily. Excerpts:

The three economies are highly compatible.

China is a large market for both Japanese and South Korean exports. The FTA will benefit all three members.

However, the United States has proposed the creation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the region as well, which will see Japan also negotiating with the US, which adds uncertainty to the on-going negotiations surrounding the TFA.

Compared with the TPP, the FTA is actually a better and more practical choice for Japan to create a broader foreign market, protect its domestic agriculture, and revive its weary domestic economy.

It is wishful thinking for Japan to use one negotiation as a bargain chip against the other.

The US will question Japan's loyalty. China will not accept the trade conditions given its current development stage.

South Korea has signed free trade area treaties with the EU and the US and will not accept harsher trade conditions set on its national industries.

If Japan really treats the FTA talks as political and regards joining the TPP as an effective means to contain China's rise, the FTA already lacks basic mutual trust.