Tokyo hosts 11th China, Japan and ROK economic and trade meeting

Updated: 2016-10-30 09:45

By Cai Hong(

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Tokyo hosts 11th China, Japan and ROK economic and trade meeting

The 11th economic and trade ministers' meeting for China, Japan and Republic of Korea was held in Tokyo on Saturday. Photo by Cai Hong

Economic and trade ministers from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) agreed on Saturday that the three countries need to strengthen and develop their cooperative relationship in the field of economy and trade.

Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko and ROK's Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-hwan co-chaired the three countries' 11th trilateral economic and trade ministers' meeting that took place in Tokyo on Saturday, making preparations for the upcoming trilateral summit meeting for Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and ROK President Park Geun-hye.

In a statement released after their meeting, the three ministers welcomed the outcomes of the G20 Hangzhou summit and emphasized the importance of continued efforts to implement those outcomes, including the G20 strategy for global trade growth and G20 guiding principles for investment policy making.

They reaffirmed their pledges against all forms of protectionism and committed themselves to working together to build an open economy.

Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said China, Japan and ROK, East Asia's three big economies, were of great significance to regional and global growth when the momentum for the world economy's recovery remains weak. They should focus on industries complementing each other. They need to strengthen cooperation so as to spur their own development and help the economies of East Asia or Asia at large grow steadily.

The three ministers said their countries were committed to making great efforts to accelerate negotiations for both the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the trilateral Free Trade Agreement, which will contribute to the economic integration of East Asia. They will jointly play a leading role in achieving modern, comprehensive, high-level and mutually beneficial agreements.

The three countries have been negotiating a free trade agreement since 2012. So far, 10 rounds of negotiations have produced positive signs of progress. A free trade agreement would facilitate trade and investment among the three countries and has a far-reaching significance for the integration of East Asia and the Asia-Pacific region as well as the growth of the world economy. China and ROK have officially signed a landmark free trade agreement in June 2015.

The three ministers agreed to launch a joint study on e-commerce as they believed the creation of a region-wide digital single market could benefit all three countries.

The trilateral meeting approved their cooperation on improving supply chain connectivity (SCC) and will study the concrete measures to improve SCC. China's proposal for extending the studies to other Asian countries under the framework of ASEAN+3 has been accepted by Japan and ROK.

"The enhanced supply chain can facilitate the participation of regional small enterprises in global value chain," the statement said.

The three countries will take the upcoming Olympics and Paralympics games the three countries will host–Pyeongchang in 2018, Tokyo in 2020, and Beijing and Zhangjiakou in 2022 – as opportunities to share knowledge and cooperate in the areas of sports and health. They would hold trilateral sports events.

The three countries have an important place on the world stage. They have a total population that accounts for some 20 percent of the world's population. China, Japan and ROK represent around 70 percent of the Asian economy and 20 percent of the global economy in terms of GDP. They have 47 percent of the foreign exchange reserve.

Japan is China's second largest trade partner and largest source of foreign capital, while China is Japan's largest trade partner and source of imports.

Meanwhile, China is the ROK's largest trade partner and second largest overseas destination of investment while ROK is China's third largest trade partner.

China, Japan and ROK decided to hold their next trilateral economic and trade ministers' meeting in China, which will host the 2017 trilateral summit meeting of their leaders.