Building on common ground for Asian era

Updated: 2011-08-22 08:18

By Hu Yuanyuan and Shen Jingting (China Daily)

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Chinese companies invest in neighbor

BEIJING - China and Japan should accelerate their talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) and strengthen technical cooperation in new energy and environmental protection to achieve sustainable development, officials and opinion leaders from both countries said on Sunday.

Building on common ground for Asian era

Wang Chen (second from the right), minister of the State Council Information Office, talks with Tang Jiaxuan (second from the left), former Chinese state councilor, and Wei Jianguo, secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (first from the left), accompanied by Zhu Ling (first from the right), editor-in-chief of China Daily, as they enter the venue of the Seventh Beijing-Tokyo Forum on Sunday. [Photo/ China Daily]

"The growth rate of Japan's exports to China and bilateral trade volumes have been decreasing, it is urgent that talks on a trilateral FTA among China, Japan and South Korea are accelerated," Wei Jianguo, secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said at the Seventh Beijing-Tokyo Forum.

Japan is China's third largest trade partner after the European Union and the United States.

"If such a situation continues, another country or region will probably replace Japan as China's third largest trade partner next year," Wei said.

Promoting a trilateral FTA at this time is significant, because the debt crises in the EU and the US have resulted in more global economic uncertainties, and Japan and South Korea can get "a free ride" on the rise of China's economy, according to Fan Ying, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University.

Meanwhile, China and Japan should strive for more coordination when setting macroeconomic policies and deepen cooperation in technologies to better achieve sustainable economic development, said Zhang Xiaoqiang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

"In some areas, such as new energy and green technology, the Chinese government will provide favorable taxation policies and financial support to enterprises to help them better cooperate with their Japanese counterparts," said Zhang.

Building on common ground for Asian era

From left: Former undersecretary-general of the United Nations Akashi Yasushi, representative of Japan's Genron NPO Yasushi Kudo, and Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa listen to a speech at the plenary meeting. [Photo/ China Daily]

Japan's foreign direct investment (FDI) into China was $4 billion last year, compared to China's $200 million FDI into Japan during the same period. And China's investment, including mergers and acquisitions, soared to $570 million in the first seven months of this year. The number of Chinese companies that have invested in Japan reached 661 by July, rising from 233 in 2006, according to Jia Qingguo, associate dean of Peking University's school of international studies.

"The buying price is very attractive now for Chinese bidders," said Jia.

Suning Appliance Co Ltd, one of China's largest consumer electronics retailers, announced in June it will spend 720 million yuan ($112 million) to raise its stake in Laox Co, a Japanese home appliance chain, to 51 percent.

Such purchases benefit both parties, Jia said. The Japanese enterprises get the money they need and a convenient way to enter the Chinese market, and Chinese companies can gain brands, technologies and distribution channels.

"If after the purchase, Japanese companies achieve better performance and create more benefits for their employees, I think it is good thing for them," said Hasegawa Yasuchika, president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

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