See More on Facebook

Economics

Korea, China, Japan to discuss regional free trade deal in Beijing

China moves in with RCEP due to be completed later this year.


Written by

Updated: December 6, 2018

Representatives of South Korea, China and Japan are to discuss a regional free trade deal in Beijing from Thursday to accelerate negotiations on market liberalization for products, services and investment, the Seoul government said Wednesday.

The two-day negotiations will be attended by senior trade officials representing the three nations, who will discuss ways to open up goods and services markets and lower other trade barriers, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

This is the 14th round of negotiations. The three countries last held talks in March in Seoul.

 

The talks come at a time when China is seeking to strike trade pacts with other nations amid rising pressure from the United States, but the trio has made little progress since the first round of negotiations in 2012.

The three Northeast Asian nations are also working with other countries in the Asia-Pacific region to build a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a large-scale trade deal involving 16 nations.

RCEP is, in essence, a massive regional trade deal between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the six countries with which ASEAN has free trade agreements — Korea, China, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand. RCEP negotiations are expected to be completed by the end of next year.

Yoo Myung-hee, Korea’s deputy minister for trade negotiations, will call for a trilateral FTA that functions at a higher level than RCEP by lowering barriers in goods, service and investment sectors, the ministry said.

The lack of progress on a trilateral pact between Korea, China and Japan stems from differences on the appropriate level of market liberalization as well as political issues.

In terms of markets, “Korea and China, particularly China, have resisted opening their markets on manufacturing, automobiles and digital devices (in) which Japan has world-class competitiveness,” said Suh Jin-kyo, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy.

“Korea and Japan, particularly Japan, have also resisted opening their agriculture markets to China, which has cost competitiveness,” Suh said.

As to the political issues, Japan’s refusal to acknowledge and make proper reparations for its historical and wartime atrocities has created tension in its relationships with Korea and China, which has also affected their trade talks, he said.

If the trade deal among the three nations is sealed, the trade volume will account for around 19 percent of the world’s total trade, making it the third-largest trade bloc surpassed only by the European Union and North America.

A decade after the trade deal is signed, Korea’s gross domestic product can be expected to rise 1.45 percent, according to KIEP. Currently, China is Korea’s largest trade partner and Japan is its third-largest trade partner, with the US at No. 2.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Economics

S. Korea, Japan to hold working-level talks

The two countries have not pursued diplomacy since a high level talk failed earlier this month. South Korea’s Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that an official handling Asia-Pacific affairs will visit Japan to meet his counterpart amid mounting tensions between the two countries. Kim Jung-han, director general for Asian and Pacific Affairs at Seoul’s Foreign Ministry, will meet Shigeki Takizaki to discuss matters of mutual interest, the ministry said in a press release. This is Kim’s first one-on-one meeting with Takizaki, who replaced Kenji Kanasugi as head of Japan’s Foreign Ministry’s Southeast and Southwest Asian affairs departmen


By The Korea Herald
September 20, 2019

Economics

S. Korea to revamp workforce system amid population decline

Government vows to increase manpower in schools, military, lower barriers for qualified foreign workers. South Korea’s fiscal chief on Wednesday announced proposals to improve the supply of key workforce amid a declining population and aging society. The government’s latest blueprint announced Wednesday focuses on recruiting teachers, soldiers and foreign workers in nonmetropolitan areas, as well as improving the employment conditions for seniors. “With its record-low birth rate and fast aging society, Korea is now facing critical demographic changes,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki in an economic revitalization meeting held at Seoul Government Complex.


By The Korea Herald
September 19, 2019

Economics

Challenges loom for Asia’s digital landscape

An overview of digital strategies across Asia in light of the first ever annual Digital Economy Report released by UNCTAD last week. Last week, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released its first ever annual Digital Economy Report (2019). It came at a time when countries across Asia have been grappling with a complex digital future. Digital technologies help cut costs, enable delivery of services without leakages, reduce opportunities for graft, promote ease of doing business, leverage an increasingly non-tactile world, grow economies, have the potential to create millions of new jobs and, it appears, even help fight fake news. On the flip side, there are concerns of the cost of the emerging digital economy in terms of loss of traditional employment sectors, eroding the right to privacy, abetting authoritarian state-control of citizens’ lives, causing a s


By Ishan Joshi
September 19, 2019

Economics

Japan officially removed from South Korea’s whitelist

Seoul has threatened the move for weeks. South Korea excluded Japan from its export controls whitelist Wednesday in retaliation for Tokyo’s earlier decision to remove Seoul from its list of favored trade partners, as bilateral relations have slumped to the lowest levels since normalizing diplomatic ties in 1965. “The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy has published the revision of the nation’s trade controls on strategic items in an official gazette and it took effect from Wednesday,” said the ministry spokesperson through a statement. Since the Aug. 12 announcement by Industry Minister Sung Yun-mo that Korea would drop Japan as a preferred trading partner, the ministry has completed the necessary administrative steps, such as soliciting opinions from the public and submitting the revised rules to the Office of Legislation for review. “We have received opinions from the public throu


By The Korea Herald
September 18, 2019

Economics

S.E. Asian manufacturing sees opportunity in U.S.-China row

By Shingo Sugime and Yoichiro Tanaka / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondents. Southeast Asian countries are intensifying their efforts to attract companies planning to move production bases outside China, as the United States and China have become entrenched in tit-for-tat sanctions and retaliatory tariffs. To attract the needed outside investment, they are offering tax incentives and other benefits. ‘Thailand Plus’ “We see the U.S.-China trade frictions as an opportunity to expand our efforts to attract foreign companies,” Thai Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak told reporters after a Cabinet meeting on Sept. 10. On that day, the Thai government adopted what it calls the “Thailand Plus” package of preferential measures for companies that relocate factories and other facilities from China. A corporate tax deduction of up to 50 p


By The Japan News
September 18, 2019

Economics

Pakistan and India face common threats, climate change is the biggest one

Collective action may just be what is needed to secure the lives and livelihoods of future generations. Climate change is no longer limited to books or scientific papers; it is a reality knocking on our doors. Longer, sweltering summers bringing in record-breaking heat to South Asia are just one example. The harshest of conditions have yet to come, and the entire region is woefully unprepared to meet the challenges. While they may seem isolated, increasing instances of extreme weather are harbingers of a major climate shift for South Asia. Unlike transnational challenges like security and trade, climate change cannot be deterred by conventional methods or unilateral initiatives. Instead, synchronised common action is the viable way forward for sustainable progress to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Let’s look at some of the common environmental challenges facing Pakistan


By Dawn
September 17, 2019