Japan, China, S. Korea advance on tariff-related issues in FTA talks

Japan, China and South Korea have made progress in deciding basic rules under which they will discuss tariffs during their trilateral working-level free trade talks, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

At the two-day meeting in Tokyo through Wednesday, which was a preparatory session for the next round of negotiations slated for early August in China, the countries also agreed to boost efforts so they can decide on the rules for tariff talks and make the first exchange of requests and offers as soon as possible, the official added.

Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul have held talks for a trilateral free trade accord four times since they agreed in May 2012 to launch such negotiations.

The three countries are seeking to seal a pact before the end of next year, the timeline for a deal set by 16 countries involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade negotiations. The RCEP members include Japan, China and South Korea.