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China, Japan, South Korea to Start Trade Talks
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China, Japan and South Korea have agreed to begin negotiations on a three-way pact aimed at expanding investment among the three neighbors.


According to China's Ministry of Commerce, officials from the three countries agreed during meetings in the Philippines to launch the talks as soon as possible. The pact is expected to facilitate trade flow by reducing barriers between them.  


They made significant progress in six rounds of talks before formal negotiations, the ministries said. The talks are aimed at improving the investment environment between the three countries and boosting trilateral capital flow.


The Ministry of Commerce said the three had agreed to strengthen cooperation in logistics, environmental protection and collaboration between small-and medium-sized enterprises. A joint study looking at a free trade agreement between them would also continue.  


Chinese Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai suggested at the meeting that in order to strengthen economic ties among them they should continue boosting cooperation in a number of areas including logistics, exhibitions and information exchanges.


Japan and South Korea are both major trading partners of China. Trade volume between China and Japan was US$168.5 billion in the first 10 months of this year while business with South Korea hit US$108.9 billion in the same period.


In other developments in the Philippines, supplements to the free trade agreement between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations were signed by Bo. The supplements mainly address difficulties left by the framework and cargo trade agreement.


It's hoped the move will ensure the smooth implementation of the free trade agreement between the two sides, said the Ministry of Commerce.


(China Daily December 12, 2006)


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