Veröffentlicht am 14.05.2012

Asia's ambitious free-trade agenda

Asia's three largest exporters, China, Japan and South Korea, have agreed to begin negotiations towards a trilateral free-trade agreement (FTA). Such a pact would have potentially huge benefits, given the size and, to some extent, complementarity of the three economies. However, lengthy negotiations are likely to be required, and the many stumbling blocks include powerful protectionist lobbies in each country and recurrent geopolitical tensions in the region.

Plans to negotiate an FTA were announced on May 13th, during a trilateral summit that also featured the signing of an investment treaty and pledges to work together to resolve regional disputes. In a joint statement, the three countries' leaders described a three-way FTA as a means not only to boost trade but also to cement East Asian economic integration and build political trust. Formal talks are expected to begin this year.

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