S. Korea, China, Japan to hold fresh round of FTA talks in Seoul

November 27, 2019

 Senior trade officials from South Korea, China and Japan will hold a fresh round of talks this week on forging a free trade deal among the three Asian neighbors, Seoul’s trade ministry said Tuesday.

Since launching the talks in 2012, the three nations have made little headway toward a deal that, if successful, would create one of the world’s largest economic blocs.

This week’s talks, the 16th round of negotiations, will be held starting Wednesday for three days in Seoul, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

This file photo, provided by Seoul's trade ministry, shows Yeo Han-koo, South Korea's chief negotiator to the three-way free trade negotiations with China and Japan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This file photo, provided by Seoul’s trade ministry, shows Yeo Han-koo, South Korea’s chief negotiator to the three-way free trade negotiations with China and Japan. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Trade officials are expected to discuss ways to open goods and services markets and lower other trade barriers, according to the ministry.

This week’s talks came after ASEAN member states, South Korea and five other countries reached a deal on a mega Asia-Pacific trade pact, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), earlier this month.

The agreement involved the whole 10-member ASEAN bloc and its dialogue partners: South Korea, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. But another participating country, India, did not join the deal.

Yeo Han-koo, South Korea’s chief negotiator to the negotiations, said the three nations will seek a “win-win” agreement to promote economic cooperation and prosperity in Northeast Asia, based on the momentum of the RCEP deal.

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