South Korea, China and Japan will hold their fifth joint study meeting next week on the feasibility of a free trade agreement (FTA) among the three Northeast Asian countries, Seoul's trade ministry said Thursday.
The meeting will be held in Kitakyushu, Japan, from Monday to Tuesday, according to the ministry. During the upcoming meeting, the three nations will discuss a draft of commodities trade and other issues, such as service and investment, the ministry said.
In May last year, the three nations launched the project with the aim of concluding it by the end of 2012.
In April, top trade officials from the three nations agreed to conclude a joint study on the feasibility of a trilateral FTA at an earlier date.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said earlier that Seoul needs to consider a free trade agreement with Beijing in order to keep up with other nations that have been adjusting to trade conditions stemming from China's rapid rise in the global economy.
Free trade talks between Seoul and Tokyo have been stalled since late 2004, mainly because of Japan's reluctance to lower tariffs on agricultural goods.
The two countries started preliminary talks to resume the stalled negotiations in June 2008 and have since met four times, including the latest meeting in December 2009.