LONDON, UK – Japan, China and South Korea have agreed the terms of long-discussed trilateral investment agreement, moving the three East Asian economic powers closer to a full three-way free trade deal.
Japan’s foreign ministry said the agreement – which has been discussed for almost a decade and under negotiation since 2007 – would “add momentum” to work towards a trade deal.
If signed, the investment deal would be the first economic agreement backed by law between Japan, China and South Korea, who have increased trilateral cooperation over recent years, including through summits held since 2008, The Financial Times reports.
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Slower growth in markets like the US and Europe has seen many Asian countries working to improve ties. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said the three nations had agreed to the terms of the trilateral investment pact at a meeting in Chinese capital Beijing.
While the ministry did not disclose the details of the agreement, analysts anticipate that it will protect the intellectual property rights of Japanese and South Korean companies currently running businesses in China, according to the BBC.
The deal is also expected to increase government transparency and dispute resolution. Its official signing is mooted to take place at a three-way summit in China in May, The International Business Times reports, where it is also anticipated that formal discussions on a trade deal will be announced.
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