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Premier says comprehensive FTA in interests of China, Japan and ROK

By MO JINGXI | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-03-15 13:51
Premier Li Keqiang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (center) and ROK President Moon Jae-in take questions from journalists after the seventh leaders' meeting in Tokyo May 9, 2018. LI TAO/XINHUA

A comprehensive, high-standard and mutually beneficial free trade agreement among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea is in the interest of the three countries, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference after the second session of the 13th National People's Congress closed, Li said that promoting the construction of China-Japan-ROK free trade zone should be on the agenda of this year's China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting, especially against the background of protectionism in world trade.

Although Japan and the ROK have pretty large surpluses in their trade with China, China is still prepared to compete with them in an equal manner to bring more options to customers of the three countries, he said.

"It is important to draw on each other's comparable strength in this process so that each party benefits," Li said.

This year marks the 20th anniversary leaders' meeting mechanism of China, Japan and ROK and China will be the chair of the mechanism this year.

When asked about China's priority regarding the conclusion of the China-Japan-ROK FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the premier said it will depend on the efforts made by parties concerned.

"Whichever will be concluded first, China will take a welcome attitude to the development," Li said.

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