The third round of negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (“FTA”) among Japan, China and Korea was held in Tokyo, Japan from November 26 to 29. In this round of negotiations, wide range of areas such as Trade in Goods, Trade in Services, Investment, Competition Policies, Intellectual Property, amongst others, were discussed. While these three counties have certain political tension in area of territorial disputes and interpretation of wartime history, a Japanese trade ministry official said “The three countries are cooperating and the political discord has not adversely affected the negotiations.” According to major newspapers, the work plan of the negotiation was presented to three countries, however, customs tariff negotiation in Trade in Goods was not significant progress this time, as the gap of opinion among the countries is still large. The three countries will work towards holding the next round of negotiations in Korea, around February 2014.
Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul announced the launch of the FTA negotiation in 2012 and held the first meeting in Seoul in late March 2013. The second meeting was held in Shanghai from July to August 2013. It is targeted to reach substantial agreement of the negotiation by the end of 2014.