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S. Korea, China, Japan to hold new round of free trade talks

All Headlines 11:00 April 09, 2017

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea, China and Japan will hold a new round of talks on a three-way free trade agreement in Tokyo next week, South Korea's trade ministry said Sunday.

South Korea's top negotiator Lee Sang-jin is set to meet with his Chinese and Japanese counterparts from Monday through Thursday, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The 12th round of talks come amid growing U.S. protectionism and Chinese economic retaliations against South Korea over the ongoing deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

During the talks, the three negotiators are expected to discuss ways to make progress on key issues of goods, service and investment. They are also scheduled to discuss e-commerce, intellectual property rights and other issues, according to the trade ministry.

In 2015, leaders of the three countries agreed to step up efforts to conclude a comprehensive, high-level and mutually beneficial three-way free trade deal. Negotiations began in 2013 but failed to yield any substantial progress.

The deal, if concluded, would create one of the world's biggest free trade blocs with a combined gross domestic product of US$16.7 trillion, about one-fifth of the total global gross domestic product as of 2015.

South Korea, China and Japan are close trade partners, but tensions still persist between South Korea and Japan and between China and Japan over territorial and history-related issues.

South Korea has clinched a series of free trade deals with major trading partners, including the U.S. and China, as part of its efforts to boost the growth of its export-reliant economy.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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