Top trade officials from Korea, China and Japan agreed Sunday to forge a three-way investment treaty this year as part of efforts to spur economic partnership among the three nations, announced the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
During the meeting in Seoul, Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon, his Chinese counterpart Chen Deming and Japanese Trade Minister Masayuki Naoshima also discussed measures to boost three-way economic and trade cooperation.
“We reaffirm the importance of the trilateral investment framework, which will be instrumental to further strengthening economic partnership among the three countries,” the ministers said in a joint statement issued after the meeting.
“We take note of the positive progress made in the negotiations on the Trilateral Investment Agreement. Therefore, we share the view to make utmost efforts to reach a substantive agreement in a few months’ time in order to conclude the negotiations as early as possible within 2010,” the statement said.
Issues of the tripartite free trade agreement and regional agenda, including G-20 summits, were discussed at the meeting, according to officials, but details about the meeting were not revealed.
The three ministers agreed to report the results of joint studies on a free trade agreement among the three Northeast Asian countries at a summit meeting between Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo. Earlier this month, the three nations launched a working-level joint study on the feasibility of a free trade agreement among the three Northeast Asian countries, with the aim of concluding the project by the end of 2012.
President Lee Myung-bak said earlier Seoul needs to consider a free trade agreement with Beijing in order to keep up with other nations in 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.