Beijing, Sep 24 (IANS) South Korea, China and Japan here on Thursday began their eighth round of talks to forge a three-way free trade deal.
Since launching the talks in late 2012, the three nations have made little headway toward a deal that, if successful, would create one of the world’s biggest economic blocs with a combined gross domestic product of $15 trillion, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The chief trade negotiators — South Korean Deputy Trade Minister Kim Hak-do, and his Chinese and Japanese counterparts Wang Shouwen and Yasumasa Nagamine — started the two-day talks at the Chinese capital.
“At this round of talks, the three nations will focus on discussing ways of market access in the fields of goods, service and investment,” said a South Korean delegate.
However, there are “still big differences between China and Japan over modalities for eliminating tariffs and ways of liberalizing service and investment”, the delegate said.
In a brief statement, China’s commerce ministry said on Thursday that the eighth round of talks is aimed at exchanging “in-depth views” on pending issues.
However, it did not provide any further details.