Japan, China, and South Korea on Friday ended a fresh round of negotiations for a three-way free trade agreement (FTA) in Beijing, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
The fifth round of FTA negotiations, which began Monday, covered various areas, such as trade in goods and services, investment, competition policies, intellectual property, according to the ministry. The three countries will work towards holding the next round of negotiations in Japan late November, it said.
"There were active discussions on the scope of market liberalization at this round of talks under a consensus between the three countries that the proposed FTA should be a comprehensive free trade deal for the establishment of the framework for a regional bloc," South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a press release carried by Yonhap News Agency. "In the areas of products, services and investment, there were active discussions on the modality (guidelines) for market access and market liberalization, but the countries again confirmed the existence of a gap between the three countries," the ministry said. The Japan-China-Korea FTA, which negotiations began in 2012, will stimulate the three countries' economic growth while contributing to regional integration. The trilateral agreement, if realized, will create one of the world's largest markets as the three countries jointly account for 20 percent of the global gross domestic product and 17.5 percent of global trade.